Power-analysis tools are taking on new and interesting angles these days, especially since power integrity has gotten on the radar screens of most system-on-a-chip designers. The latest wrinkle is the addition of formal power-grid verification in the form of Sequence Design's CoolCheck tool. CoolCheck uses a vectorless approach to examine power grids early in the design cycle, verifying both electrical and physical connectivity (see the figure).
Purported to catch problems that escape both static and dynamic voltagedrop analysis, CoolCheck traces the path from every cell to the power grid, using a proprietary technique to compute the strength of each connection. The tool then highlights points at which weak electrical connections are found.
CoolCheck detects circuitous connections to the power grid, missing vias, power-grid disconnects, and other typical errors. Static and dynamic analysis tools can detect physical connectivity problems, but they can't unearth all electrical problems. These errors depend on vectors that may not provide stimulus to all parts of the design.
The tool can graphically display how many interconnect instances have low effective resistance to the power supply ( 50 Ω) It also provides a thermal map showing resistance from each standard cell to their respective power supplies.
CoolCheck complements Sequence's CoolTime product, which performs static and dynamic power-grid analysis. Cool-Check is available now with pricing starting at $80,000 for a one-year license.