Breker Verification Systems VP Tom Anderson presented a concise tutorial on low-power SOC verification at DesignCon on January 30th. He began by laying out the challenges of low-power design, with an eye to the verification problems associated with various strategies:
Low-power SOC verification …
The need for low-power design is ubiquitous, with today’s plethora of consumer devices being battery-powered. ‘Big iron’ machines in modern data centers are also driving the need for low-power chips. As well, governments worldwide – especially in Europe – are passing ‘green’ laws; if you’re building a ‘big iron’ class of machine, you may be required by law to meet specified power limits.
There are various techniques emerging to meet these needs. Circuit-level design strategies include special transistor and cell design for non-critical paths. Different voltage thresholds are also an option, yielding a variety of performance levels and power consumption at different points on-chip; designers can make a one-time trade-off between performance level and path options on-chip. These techniques have little or no impact on functional verification. Other strategies, however, do.