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The Power Forward Initiative and Green Electronics Come of Age

Comments(0)Filed under: Logic Design, PFI, Power Shut-Off, Green Electronics, ARM, Power Forward Initiative, TMSC, low power design

For over four years I have worked with partners in the industry as part of the Power Forward Initiative to advance adoption of low-power design techniques. The BIG benefit now is that electronics manufacturers worldwide are starting to adopt these techniques to produce energy-efficient electronic products. From the beginning days with early adopters ARM, Artisan, Applied Materials and TSMC, we began the journey to mitigate ever increasing leakage current that threatened to stall adoption of advanced process nodes and shrink battery life for cell phones.

These brave companies devised power lowering techniques that made chips more energy efficient but in the words of Dr. John Goodenough of ARM “It was bloody hard!” Today, after thousands of hours of industry collaboration, an automated low-power design methodology has emerged. No longer just for cell phone chips but for all wired electronic devices as well.  

It is very satisfying to see the success of the Power Forward Initiative as we move into a new phase – to have crossed the chasm into main street.  This massive evolutionary change in design methodology from power-wasting to power-efficient design is taking hold – worldwide. At the PFI’s recent Low-Power Design Summit in Silicon Valley, 86% of those registered reported that they are or would be starting a low-power design in the next six months.

Companies who have stood by the notion of “performance at all costs” have changed their tune. Interest in PFI’s low-power experiences is booming – with over 3800 downloads of A Practical Guide to Low-Power Design – User Experience with CPF. Readers from Electronics companies and universities alike are jumping on the power-efficient design bandwagon.

The mushrooming demand for electricity to drive electronic products is putting a strain on world markets and the use of oil to generate electricity is causing devastating climate change. In crisis there is opportunity and the electronics industry is stepping up to make its products more power efficient. To help achieve this goal, Cadence started a campaign to promote power-efficient chip and system design, leveraging the PFI work, as the source for green electronics products.  Check it out here.

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