Envis Reveals Strategy for Design Power Management in IC Implementation

Envis revealed its strategy for meeting the challenges of design power management in integrated circuit (IC) implementation. The company intends to broadly deploy electronic design automation (EDA) products based on unique, proprietary technology that will enable designers to rapidly and accurately estimate, and further make strides in reducing the power consumption through analysis and optimization. As its products, Envis is offering Chill, an intelligent approach to automating an optimal combination of dynamic and static power reduction, and Kelvin, a power estimation environment that combines automatic power vector generation with power consumption simulation and analysis.

“Power management is a first order design requirement for customers, as it is now relevant to not only handheld, but also computing, consumer, and networking applications,” stated Paul McLellan, chief executive officer at Envis. “As both end-market requirements as well as process technology challenges increasingly pressure designers, we intent to focus on enabling designers to meet the challenges with the most intelligent combination of software automation and IP blocks.”

“Envis’ products have enabled us to significantly lower our power consumption ,” stated Chris Brown, Director of Digital Design at Amalfi Semiconductor. “Other alternatives, including the design techniques performed manually, do not provide the same level of power savings.” “In our partnership with Envis, we have collaborated on a solution that addresses power consumption and area reduction”, added Tuan Nguyen, VP of Engineering at Amalfi Semiconductor.

“Envis has a unique grasp on the issues and challenges that design teams are wrestling with,” stated James Hogan, industry veteran and independent investor “They have a very innovative approach to the problem of power that I believe designers will find very useful in power hungry designs.

Chill and Kelvin
A complex IC today consumes large amounts of power, generating heat as well as other undesirable design effects. The high power consumption was originally only an issue for handheld devices which demand that batteries last as long as possible. However, in the past few years, power consumption has become a major design issue in almost every IC application. Computing and server applications are affected because of the power supply needed to operate them as well as the cooling systems they need for the servers. The consumer applications (beyond handheld) are affected because of the high costs that larger and more heat-isolating IC packaging that needs to be used if power is unmanaged. Power management has emerged as a major portion of IC design flows, hence also affecting the development schedules and market windows.

Envis’s products, Chill and Kelvin, offer automated means to accurately manage and reduce power consumption. One of the most effective techniques used to reduce dynamic power of a design is clock gating. Current approaches to clock gating are rather labor intensive, designer-dependant, and don’t achieve large enough results to make a significant impact. Chill provides a new approach that combines an analysis and insertion software along with proprietary silicon elements that implement clock gating rapidly and comprehensively significantly reducing dynamic power while reducing static power by reducing chip area, all without sacrificing chip performance. This translates into lower development cost, lower die cost, lower packaging costs, and enhanced battery usage in standby modes – ultimately producing lower-power, higher quality, more reliable designs, faster.

Kelvin offers a power estimation and analysis approach that combines automatic creation of sufficient real-life design-driven power vectors with power consumption simulation. Kelvin intelligently generates power vectors driven from the netlist and then applies the generated vectors to industry’s leading Verilog simulation environments including VCS (Synopsys), NC-Verilog (Cadence), and ModelSim (Mentor). Kelvin then analyzes the results of the simulation and measures power activity levels. Kelvin can be run at any point of the design flow once the netlist has been created. It be can run after synthesis before physical design, or after physical design for an even more accurate power consumption estimate taking in the effects of parasitics.

Pricing and Availability
Chill and Kelvin will be available on May 15, 2008. Pricing for Kelvin and Chill begin at $50,000 and $180,000 USD respectively for a one-year floating license on Linux platforms.

About Envis
Founded in 2006 (as Envision Technology), Envis is a technology leader in providing software products and technology enabling design teams to manage integrated circuits (IC) power consumption, enabling IC designers to significantly reduce cost and time to market in IC’s targeted in almost any application including computing, networking, telecommunications, gaming, entertainment, and automotive, all which require efficient and clean energy management. Envis is privately held with venture funding from Concept Ventures and Sigma Partners.