ArchPro Design Automation introduces its first product, MVSIM, the world’s first Electronic Design Automation (EDA) solution for verification of Power Managed Designs. The product supports ARM Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology. Multi-voltage chip designers today have to settle for verification of power management schemes after the silicon has been created. Bugs are often found in power management schemes after silicon is spun causing time and cost-consuming revisions to silicon, system and software. ArchPro’s MVSIM product for the first time changes this paradigm to enable verification prior to silicon spins.
Power Management isn’t as simple as clock gating anymore. Designers often resort to Multiple Voltage Islands (MVI) and Power Gating to control power. All the decisions related to voltage scaling are done at the architectural level. Power Management is hence a complex sequence of handshakes between the SOC, software and system electronics. Often, bugs in power management schemes lock the part up in some states, cause chips to literally burn away and commonly cause a revision to packaging and battery life calculation. All of these of course impact cost and time to market. So far, multiple voltage design techniques could not be verified.
“Playing around with Voltage isn’t simple. Today’s EDA tools think 1 and 0. Voltage changes that very basis. It wasn’t even possible to write a hardware description for something like Voltage Scaling or Power Gating until ArchPro came along,” said Balaji Kanigicherla, an IC designer at Ikanos and a former mobile chipset designer.
MVSIM enables the user to bring any system level architectural decision on voltage scaling into the Register Transfer Level (RTL) and verify it. MVSIM works with mainstream simulators like ModelSim (Mentor Graphics Corp.), NC-Sim (Cadence Design Systems, Inc.) and VCS (Synopsys, Inc.) to verify multiple voltages. There is no restriction on how the islands are organized. MVSIM supports any arbitrary partition in the hierarchy, including nested islands and domains.
“One of the first things we have done is clear up user terminology on Multiple Voltage,” said Srikanth Jadcherla, ArchPro’s CEO. “Domains, Islands, Multi-Rail, Multi-Supply… we help our users go through these terms with the rigor that silicon demands. Whether they are scaling VDD, using power gating, or applying back bias, we help them get a formal handle on voltage at the RTL level, for the first time in the industry.”
MVSIM is available today, worldwide. Pricing varies by configuration. ArchPro utilizes a direct sales force and plans to have distributor/reseller arrangements in some geographies.
ARM Intelligent Energy Manager (IEM) technology is largely considered the industry’s premier power management IP. IEM technology saves users up to 60 percent battery life using Adaptive Voltage Scaling and is increasingly adopted by the mobile market via the ARM11 processor family. ArchPro’s MVSIM enables ARM IEM technology users to fully verify their sophisticated voltage control scheme before tapeout. To validate MVSIM’s capabilities with IEM, a reference SoC design using an ARM926EJ-S processor and the ARM Intelligent Energy Controller (IEC) was verified in a joint exercise between ArchPro and ARM. This design applied Adaptive Voltage Scaling, Power Gating and Body Bias.
“The EDA tools for Dynamic Voltage Scaling have only recently emerged,” said Kevin McIntyre, IEM Product Manager, ARM. “ArchPro tools enable customers to verify their Multi-Voltage designs early, in the RTL design cycle, thus reducing the risk of non-functional silicon.”
ArchPro is also a member of the ARM Connected Community, a global network of companies aligned to provide a complete solution, from design to manufacture and end use, for products based on the ARM architecture. ARM offers a variety of resources to Community members, including promotional programs and peer-networking opportunities that enable a variety of ARM Partners to come together to provide end-to-end customer solutions.
ArchPro has emerged as an inventive leader in EDA products to meet challenges facing 90/65nm System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designers. With industry first products, such as MVSIM, which for the first time allows power design verification for multi-voltage applications, ArchPro is paving the way toward reducing cost, risk and time to market for chip designers. Products also support all major complementary SoC design technologies. ArchPro is a privately held venture capital funded company based in Fremont, Calif. The company has established an advanced R&D center in Bangalore, India named PowerPlay Automation (India) Pvt. Ltd.
More information about the company can be found online at www.archpro-da.com