Dr. Leigh Anne Clevenger Joins Si2 Technical Team

Machine Learning Expert Will Bolster Collaborative R&D Programs

Dr. Leigh Anne Clevenger, a professional software engineer with over 15 years’ experience at IBM and GlobalFoundries, has joined Si2 as a principal software design engineer.

With domain knowledge ranging from circuit simulation to data science, Dr. Clevenger will initially focus her expertise on accelerating the Si2 OpenStandards Coalition standardization efforts in machine learning and system-level power modeling.

Dr. Clevenger, who earned her doctorate in Software Engineering and Machine Learning at Pace University, has extensive experience in semiconductor design automation and semiconductor processing technology.  She is a published expert in detailed circuit simulator systems, including IBM PowerSPICE, Cadence Spectre/APS/XPS/Ultrasim, and Synopsys HSPICE.  At GlobalFoundries she was a software development engineer for automotive and gaming computer chips.

“Dr. Clevenger is known for driving business success through establishing collaboration and dialogue between all sectors of the electronic design automation and semiconductor communities,” said John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO.  “Her expertise in machine learning will be especially valuable to Si2 members who increasingly utilize that science to gain insights from data to improve the quality and efficiency of production and decision software systems.”

Dr. Clevenger has published and presented research on data science, including big data analytics, machine learning algorithms, and wearable computing.  She has filed over 30 patents in the areas of health care and fitness based on Internet of Things sensors, improving engagement with virtual and augmented reality and semiconductor innovations. For her doctorate, she developed a machine learning system for active screening of cardiac patients.

 

IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES Enhance Si2 Unified Power Model Standard

Si2 has announced  that IBM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES have contributed patented technology to support the Si2 Unified Power Model standard, the industry’s first significant power model enhancement in many years.

Early stage estimation of System on Chip power consumption is fundamental to ensuring new SoC designs meet or exceed power specifications when fabricated. For a credible estimate, the power models must comprehend the target implementation technology and circuitry, along with voltage and temperature conditions. At the same time, power estimation results are needed quickly in to perform rapid “what if” scenarios.

UPM’s multi-level power modeling capability provides the necessary level of modeling detail required at various stages of design. Abstract high-level equations to gate-level characterization tables can be accommodated through the same, standard interface. Beyond this, the UPM interface, upon acceptance and approval by the IEEE’s P2416 working group, will be a direct plug-in to the widely-used IEEE 1801 stub created for power models.

Simplified Power Modeling

The IBM and GF contributions enhance UPM by providing a new and unique approach to power modeling. Rather than storing pre-characterized, process-voltage-temperature specific data, UPM models store power proxies that represent different contributors to overall power consumption, such as sub-threshold leakage, gate leakage, and dynamic power. Appropriately entitled “power contributors,” this approach vastly simplifies and reduces the power modeling effort, and allows the power model to be voltage and temperature independent, enabling a single power model to be used at a multitude of voltages and temperatures.

SoC designers using UPM with contributor-based modeling will ultimately be equipped with thermally-aware, system-level power estimation. In addition, the late-binding of specific PVT conditions at simulation run-time will provide accurate, early estimates of leakage power, which increases exponentially with increasing temperature. The donated technology covers key aspects of contributor-based power modeling including model abstraction, generation, compression and evaluation.

Contributor-based modeling will be fully integrated into UPM, which forms the basis for P2416, the planned IEEE standard for developing and maintaining interoperable, IC design power models.  P2416 is scheduled for balloting in early 2019.

Industry Contributions

Jerry Frenkil, director of Si2 OpenStandards, said the IBM and GF contributions bolster UPM and provide P2416 with proven and ready-to-use modeling methods.  “These power proxies enable voltage and temperature-independent modeling which greatly reduce the model generation and support effort,” Frenkil explained. “They also enable late binding of voltage and temperature conditions at simulation run-time, a major benefit for both IP developers and SoC designers.”

“IBM is pleased to donate this advanced modeling technology to Si2’s UPM development to facilitate interchange of IP power data,” said Dr. Leon Stok, vice president of EDA at IBM.  “We have used contributor modeling internally on several generations of IBM micro-processors to great effect. We look forward to seeing UPM contributor models being provided by IP block developers so that entire systems, consisting of both internal and external IP, can be modeled efficiently using a common modeling standard.  Additionally, the combination of power contributors and multi-level modeling structures promises major cost and resource improvements in creating and supporting IP power models.”

“UPM directly addresses a major industry need—accurate and efficient system-level power models,” said Richard Trihy, senior director of design enablement at GF.  “Since IP providers need only produce a single model for a multitude of PVT points, these models enable significant productivity gains in model generation. Our clients will also get a good early estimate of their systems’ total power, including leakage, which can operate at high temperatures.”

Ready for P2416 Balloting

“These contributions from IBM and GF come at a fortuitous time,” said Dr. Nagu Dhanwada of IBM, chair of the IEEE P2416 Working Group and the Si2 UPM development project.  “The P2416 Working Group is rapidly gathering momentum towards IEEE standardization.  We anticipate going to ballot early next year.”

For more information about this project, contact Jerry Frenkil at jfrenkil@si2.org.  For information about the Low Power Working Group and other OpenStandards programs, visit http://www.si2.org/openstandards/.

Si2 Releases New Version of OpenAccess Design Database

Silicon Integration Initiative, an electronic design automation software research and development joint venture, has released Data Model 6, the newest version of OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used standard API and reference database for integrated circuit design.

DM6 is the first major OpenAccess revision since 2014. The OpenAccess database provides EDA software tools with immediate design flow interoperability, saving time and money for semiconductor designers and manufacturers. Innovative DM6 features will improve performance in both new and legacy applications.

Marshall Tiner, Si2 director of Production Standards, said DM6 can help the industry keep pace with design requirements for emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. “As with all OpenAccess releases, DM6 is a production-quality, proven, stable design platform. It’s uniquely positioned to meet the new complexity and performance challenges facing IC designers.”

A key feature of DM6 is oaPartitions, which enables OpenAccess applications to access critical components of enormous designs as easily as opening much smaller designs, saving compute resources and allowing developers to start doing meaningful work faster. “The real power of DM6 comes from the new partitioning capability. By subdividing a complex design, OpenAccess provides simultaneous access to multiple partitions from separate processes. Applications can use oaPartitions to exploit the full compute power available on the user’s platform,” Tiner said.

With properly written applications taking advantage of the new data model, oaPartitions can customize how and what data will be loaded into memory from the database. Multiple simultaneous, unique applications can each be assigned their own partition, opening up a wide range of opportunities to accelerate the design flow on ever-growing, complex designs.

“The industry is looking for enablers for utilizing vast cloud-based hardware with multiple processors. oaPartitions provides just that,” Tiner said.

John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO, underscored the benefits of OpenAccess. “Use of OpenAccess API, source code, and scripting capability accelerates EDA vendor’s time to market, and provides users with tool-to-tool interoperability for optimal design flows. Without OA compatibility, time-consuming translations in and out of a vendor or user internally developed software tools are usually required, wasting some of the productivity gains a tool provides. Any software tool used for real-world, physical design that is not utilizing OA is at a serious disadvantage. The high-performance, partitioning capability of OA DM6 underscores the competitive advantage and power of OpenAccess.”

The OpenAccess Coalition is the governing body that manages the OpenAccess infrastructure. Cadence  Design Systems, Inc. contributed the OpenAccess API to Si2 in 2002 and serves as the co-architect of the Si2 Change Team that manages modifications to the API and data model. Cadence also provides Si2 and its OpenAccess Coalition members with rights to use their production-quality, reference implementation of the latest API and data model. DM6 is now available to all coalition members.

For more information about OpenAccess and Data Model 6, contact Marshall Tiner at mtiner@si2.org.

 

About Si2

Founded in 1988, Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for integrated circuit design tools. All Si2 activities are carried out under the auspices of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, the fundamental law that defines R&D joint ventures and offers them a large measure of protection against federal antitrust laws. Si2’s international membership includes semiconductor foundries, fabless manufacturers and EDA companies.

 

In Memoriam: Eric Leavitt

Si2 and the EDA industry lost a friend and colleague with the recent passing of Eric Leavitt.

Eric was an EDA pioneer, starting at Digital Equipment Corporation in 1978 and later at Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys, Eric left his mark on many EDA products, and was a leader in the development of Si2 OpenAccess.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held for Eric on Saturday, October 13, at 10 a.m. at Darling & Fischer – Chapel of the Hills in Los Gatos, Ca.

In lieu of flowers, a college fund has been set up for Eric’s son Jeff, at Bank of America, Account # 325116651248 (Yanfang Cao) or via Zelle 4083980824.