Randy Smith

Randy Smith

For those of you that have been reading my blogs or watching my presentations for a while, you will know I like to use cars for analogies. They represent a system that everyone understands at a user level, they are composed of many subsystems, the details of which can get pretty complicated if you dig deep. So today, you will see how most chip architectures are designed like having a car without a gas pedal – and what you can do about it.

Power management in IC design is loaded with exciting new developments. There have been attempts to solve power-related issues by altering the overall semiconductor process, biasing selected portions of a design, implementing various power distribution structures, introducing power gating, changing on chip network architectures, introducing microprocessor-based power channels, introducing energy processing units, and even more. Before jumping right into this topic, I think it’s best to provide an overview of what got us to this point. In future posts, I’ll delve more into the state of the art and the important trends affecting the future of power-efficient IC design.