Open-Silicon gets patent for low power ASIC design methodology

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - September 14, 2011

The company gets a patent focusings on lowering SoC dynamic and standby power

Open-Silicon, Inc.has said hat the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent 7,941,776 related to Open-Silicon's PowerMAX technology. Low power SoC design is a key differentiator for not just mobile applications, but also many networking, telecom, storage, and computing solutions. This  patent focuses on lowering SoC dynamic and standby power by enriching the target standard library to best fit the needs of a particular design.

Specifically, this patent encompasses the intellectual property rights of Open-Silicon's ZenCells, standard cells created using PowerMAX's design-specific library augmentation. ZenCells drive down both dynamic and leakage power through a method of closed-loop IC design optimization via the creation of design-specific cells from post-layout patterns. This optimization process involves automatically creating design-specific cells with desired characteristics, such as power, performance, or noise, which are then implemented as a standard cell from a set of post layout patterns. The pattern represents a part of or a whole standard cell and contains information regarding the pattern, such as layout, timing area, power and noise. Because these cells are created from post-layout patterns, the risks of prior dynamic library techniques are easily avoided. The result is cells that are optimized to satisfy the constraints imposed by the design context, thus bringing powerful design-specific customization to standard cell-based design methodology. 

Introduced in 2008, PowerMAX adds design-specific library augmentation, back biasing, power recovery and custom leakage signoff, resulting in the ASIC industry's most complete low power design offering, the company claimed. The total Open-Silicon PowerMAX offering includes both the conventional techniques and the new technologies. By combining the best industry standard methods with novel technologies unique to Open-Silicon, customers can achieve the lowest power consumption possible for their silicon. 

"Increasing levels of integration in performance-driven SoCs have challenged designers to come up with novel architectural and physical design solutions for power density limitations. At the other end of the spectrum, mobile applications are driving exponential growth in mobile performance, matched with every-increasing battery life requirements. We identified this growing problem early on and developed the MAX technologies to solve it," said Colin Baldwin, director of marketing for Open-Silicon.

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