Indeed, timing appears to be a major reason behind the new effort. While Power Forward is aiming at a 2.0 version release for early adopters in mid-2007, with plans to go before a standards body in 2008, those behind the new effort want to put forth a proposal by the end of this year, Schulz noted.
"The right thing is to get one solution for the industry, but it's got to be open, fast, and inclusive," said Kevin Kranen, director of strategic alliances at Synopsys, following the Cadence meeting. "If we have to wait for six months before we see anything, it doesn't fill that bill." Synopsys already offers many of the capabilities proposed for the initiative's Common Power Format (CPF), he said.
Rich Goldman, Synopsys vice president for strategic market development, used the exact same words"open, fast and inclusive"to describe the intent behind the new power standards effort.
But Cadence has already opened the Power Forward initiative to other EDA vendors, said Jan Willis, its senior vice president for design alliances. She also differentiated between Synopsys and the other companies in the private DAC meeting. "The Synopsys view is that we ought to just be able to extend current standards, but that's not what the others are saying," she said.
While Cadence has a "clear path" forward, the new effort has "very unrealistic expectations" about the timetable it's outlined, Willis said. "There isn't an entity managing this, no standards body has been selected, and no legal agreements are in place," she said.
Willis said the private DAC meeting "reflects that the whole topic of low power is pretty hot." Indeed, there's no disagreement about the need for a standard power format that can be read by multiple tools throughout the design flow. The CPF envisioned by Cadence enables all design and technology-related power constraints to be captured in a single file. It applies that file across the design flow, providing a consistent reference point for design development and production.
Another apparent point of agreement is that there should ultimately be a single standard power description format. "It is very much our hope and intent to get the industry to one standard," Willis said.
Added Schulz: "I'm still optimistic that we have a remaining chance to bring about convergence around a combined [power] standards program." To this end, he said, Si2 is offering its services as a "neutral" party that can help bring that convergence about. For starters, he said, Si2 has offered to host a one-day workshop that will bring the various participants together for further discussions.