Vojin Zivojnovic, Jim Hogan (AGGIOS Inc.)
EETimes (11/13/2013 11:00 AM EST)
Energy-efficient product design, for both portable and plug-load devices, leads the list of on-going engineering priorities.
While mobile device makers have been forced by consumers' insatiable mobility requirements and fierce competition to significantly improve battery life, fixed-power products have been slower to deliver better energy consumption characteristics.
But a combination of government mandates, rising energy costs, facility limitations, and a general movement to all things green makes energy efficiency a top-level concern for every type of electronics maker.
The basic principle of energy design and management for electronic devices is to optimize the electrical activity within the electronic circuitry without impacting user experience or intended purpose. During the (pre-silicon) energy design phase, also called power design in Electronic Design Automation (EDA), we focus on tuning the hardware structures, assuming certain nominal signal activities, voltages, and clocks.
In the subsequent (post-silicon) energy management phase we tune the voltages, clocks, and functional activities during the test-and-run time, assuming certain hardware characteristics of the device.
Energy-efficient, complete solutions can be obtained only with optimal alignment across the pre- and post-silicon phases of energy optimization, supported by unified design flows, abstractions, and formats.
This requires a fundamental shift in the design infrastructures currently in use in today's product development flow. We believe a Unified Hardware Abstraction (UHA) is needed to promote a holistic, quantitative, and reusable approach to energy design and management.
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