SAN FRANCISCO Representatives of key user and EDA companies met behind the scenes at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) here this week to launch a new effort to develop a common power description format, EE Times has learned.
As such, they're providing an alternative to Cadence Design Systems' Power Forward initiative, which some companies feel is not sufficiently open and is moving too slowly.
When the Power Forward initiative was launched in May, it included Cadence and seven user companies: AMD, ARM, ATI, Fujitsu, Freescale, NEC and TSMC. No other EDA vendors were involved, and Cadence representatives said other companies would be able to join only after a six-month development effort.
Earlier this month Cadence relented, saying EDA vendors would be welcome to join Power Forward's advisory group. Cadence also hosted a meeting at DAC and invited representatives of other EDA vendors. But it apparently wasn't enough to satisfy a sizable group.
Meeting the same day as Cadence's luncheon, representatives of companies including STMicroelectronics, Philips, Texas Instruments, Nokia, Mentor Graphics, Synopsys and Magma Design Automation met to hammer out an alternative approach. The effort was initiated by Texas Instruments and Nokia, sources said. Also attending were representatives from the Accellera standards organization, the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2), and Cadence.
Steve Schulz, Si2 president, has spoken favorably of Power Forward and is now trying to act as peacemaker, even though neither Power Forward nor the new effort is officially aligned with Si2. "What we have is a collection of user companies and EDA vendors who want to ensure that any low power standards effort is fully open, nonexclusive, and occurs really fast," Schulz said.
There are two divergent philosophies, Schulz said. One is the Power Forward idea, which is to start with a focused group with guidance from a large EDA vendor. The other is represented in the new effort, where "openness is critical, you roll up your sleeves and you get things quickly done," he said.