UPF in VLSI: The Smartest Way Forward!

UPF in VLSI: The Smartest Way Forward!

In today’s technology, reducing power consumption is a crucial part of Integrated Circuit (IC) design. Timing and area were the primary characteristics of concern in prior generations of IC design. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools were created to improve speed while minimizing space. However, as technology advances and the need for more complicated electronic devices grows, power consumption has become a key barrier in current designs, necessitating a new low-power design process and has reached its tolerable limitations; hence, power has become as crucial as time and area in the design flow. With power being a more significant aspect in today’s electronic systems, there is a need for a more systematic approach to reducing power in complicated designs; UPF in VLSI was created to meet this requirement.

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What is UPF in VLSI?

The Unified Power Format (UPF) is a power specification file used in the design cycle to implement low-power design approaches. UPF indicates a design’s power intent at a high level. UPF scripts assist in describing power intent, such as 1. which power rails should be routed to individual blocks, 2. When these blocks are expected to be powered up or shut down,3. How these voltage levels should be shifted between two different power domains, and 4.The type of measures taken for retention registers and memory cell contents if the primary power supply to a domain is removed, thereby assisting in the design being more efficient.

How Does It Work?

The examples for UPF in VLSI include a wide range of low-power approaches, including clock-gating, multi-voltage gating, power gating, and the combination of multi-voltage and power gating. This design flow is implemented and evaluated on Synopsys generic 9 libraries using Synopsys electronic design automation tools. The synthesis scripts are written in the TCL programming language and are compatible with Synopsys synthesis and physical design tools.

The Tool Control Language (TCL) is the foundation of UPF in VLSI (Synopsys) and the related Common Power Format (CPF) (cadence). The TCL command “create power domain” is used to provide the parameters of a power domain. For example, UPF-aware tools use these commands to establish a group of blocks in the design that is handled as a single power domain and is supplied differently to other blocks on the same chip. The goal behind this command is that power-aware tools can read which blocks in a design may be powered up and down separately.


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