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Power Issues Rising For New Applications

By Ann Steffora-Mutschler, Semiconductor Engineering

Managing power in chips is becoming more difficult across a wide range of applications and process nodes, forcing chipmakers and systems companies to rethink their power strategies and address problems much earlier than in the past.


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“Rules for which power domains should be on or off depending on what the chip is doing can be captured in the form of assertions,” said Tom Anderson, technical marketing consultant at OneSpin Solutions, noting that formal can prove that only legal combinations of power domain settings are possible, or generate tests showing violations if there are bugs in the design. “Formal verification can prove that these rules are satisfied under all conditions or report bugs. Finding and fixing power-related issues pre-silicon is critical to avoid a chip that doesn’t work because key functions are powered down, or one that suffers thermal breakdown when too much of the chip is turned on at the same time.”


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