editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Powering Up Power Analysis

Apache has just released their latest RedHawk version, RedHawk-3DX. In it they’ve focused on areas of growing importance for power: 3D ICs, working at the RTL level, and scaling up the size of sub-20-nm designs.

Power is of particular concern for 3D ICs because of the fact that a “cube” of silicon is much harder to cool than a plane. And it’s not a monolithic cube; it’s a bunch of interconnected planes that can become detached if you’re not careful. Even the TSVs can be problematic.

They’ve allowed concurrent analysis of each die and the interconnects and TSVs, with the ability to view each piece separately to see where the hot spots and physical stresses are. And they’re not just calculating heat or power; they are determining physical stresses as well. They do this with models, not with full finite-element (FE) analysis, although the models themselves may be created through more accurate FE methods.

RTL-level analysis is important for debug reasons. Most analysis is now done at the gate level, but most designers won’t have vectors at the gate level; only at the RTL level. And if problems are found at the gate level, it’s hard to debug them since that’s not the level designers work at.

So they now have the logic propagation technology in place to support RTL-level analysis with vector inputs. Vectorless analysis is also possible at the RTL and global levels; this is where you specify approximate transition frequencies on pins, and then probabilities (instead of actual events) are propagated to perform the analysis.

For scaling purposes, they have enabled hierarchical analysis, allowing different blocks to be analyzed independently, creating something akin to a bus-function model, where the periphery of the block is accurate while the internals aren’t. That way you can plug the blocks together to see how they interact and still complete the analysis in a reasonable time. A full chip can thus be analyzed with blocks done with or without vectors, at the gate or RTL level; you can mix and match.

There are lots of other details that you can get to via their announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Feb 20, 2024
Graphics processing units (GPUs) have significantly transcended their original purpose, now at the heart of myriad high-performance computing applications. GPUs accelerate processes in fields ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to video editing and ...
Feb 15, 2024
This artist can paint not just with both hands, but also with both feet, and all at the same time!...

featured video

Tackling Challenges in 3DHI Microelectronics for Aerospace, Government, and Defense

Sponsored by Synopsys

Aerospace, Government, and Defense industry experts discuss the complexities of 3DHI for technological, manufacturing, & economic intricacies, as well as security, reliability, and safety challenges & solutions. Explore DARPA’s NGMM plan for the 3DHI R&D ecosystem.

Learn more about Synopsys Aerospace and Government Solutions

featured paper

How to Deliver Rock-Solid Supply in a Complex and Ever-Changing World

Sponsored by Intel

A combination of careful planning, focused investment, accurate tracking, and commitment to product longevity delivers the resilient supply chain FPGA customers require.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

Silence of the Amps: µModule Regulators
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Younes Salami from Analog Devices explore the benefits of Analog Devices’ silent switcher technology. They also examine the pros and cons of switch mode power supplies and how you can utilize silent switcher µModule regulators in your next design.
Dec 13, 2023
9,647 views