09 September 2015

Mentor Graphics Drives Next-Generation, Low-Power Verification with UPF Successive Refinement Methodology

WILSONVILLE, Ore., Sept. 9, 2015                                  


  • The Unified Power Format (UPF) Successive Refinement Methodology enables the incremental specification and early verification of power management intent.
  • The Questa® Power Aware Simulation solution and Visualizer Debug Environment facilitate adoption of a Successive Refinement Methodology flow.
  • ARM has demonstrated support for Successive Refinement in a complete IP to SoC design flow from verification to implementation.

Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) today announced support for the Low Power Successive Refinement Methodology using Questa Power Aware Simulation and new capabilities in the Visualizer™ Debug Environment to dramatically improve verification re-use and productivity for low power designs using ARM® technology.

UPF, which specifies ‘power intent’ separate from the design, is used in both the verification and implementation stages of chip design.  Traditional low power methodologies that focus on implementation start to break down as complex power management requirements increase. The Successive Refinement Methodology defines power intent more abstractly early in the design cycle, and refines/augments it in more detail as the design moves to implementation.  This improves the overall verification process and the reuse of verification results at each step.  The Successive Refinement Methodology focuses on dividing UPF into Constraint UPF for IP/blocks, Configuration UPF for verification and Implementation UPF.  This enables soft IP and sub-systems to be developed from multiple sources (along with their power intent) and then quickly verified together to preserve equity in power verification. 

The Successive Refinement Methodology was introduced into the UPF specification by John Biggs, senior principal research engineer, ARM and chair of IEEE1801. Mentor and ARM have worked closely on the Successive Refinement Methodology since its inception. This collaboration has resulted in ARM delivering Constraint UPF and example Configuration UPF for ARM IP for a flow verified with Questa Power Aware Simulation and completed through implementation (synthesis and place and route).

“Delivering increasingly energy-efficient processor IP, in the fast-paced markets that ARM operates in, leads to a constant demand for new process optimization tools,” said John Biggs, senior principal engineer, ARM and chair of IEEE1801. “By using the Successive Refinement Methodology, ARM is able to deliver IP built for low power applications alongside a UPF description of the technology-independent power intent. This allows our partners to dramatically reduce their low power verification cost and time.”

 “Mentor has been driving low power standards from the inception with UPF.  The collaboration with ARM that resulted in the Successive Refinement Methodology enables a much needed “shift-left” to address the growing complexities of low power verification,” said John Lenyo, vice president and general manager, Design Verification Technology Division, Mentor Graphics. “Questa Power Aware Simulation comes with native UPF2.1 support, automatic low power checks and coverage. Coupled with unique exploration of the power management structures and behaviors with the Visualizer Debug Environment, it accelerates and automates low power verification flows using the Successive Refinement Methodology.”

About the Questa Functional Verification platform

The Questa Functional Verification platform is a core technology in the Mentor® Enterprise Verification Platform (EVP) – a platform that boosts productivity in ASIC and SoC functional verification by combining cutting-edge verification technologies in a cohesive verification platform.

Mentor Graphics and Questa are registered trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation. All other company or product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

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David Smith