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Effects of Inception

For those of you who were wondering if I had fallen off the face of the planet, the answer is no. My mind was stuck in a limbo when I got hurt in an extraction (not the parasitic kind) mission. Confused? Read on…

I finally got to watch the critically acclaimed sci-fi movie Inception last weekend and life has never been the same again. Without giving away too much detail for the benefit of those who have not watched it yet, the main plot involves dreams within dreams within dreams – three level s to be precise to incept an idea into someone’s sub conscious mind. Are you still with me? Never mind, the first thing that came to my mind when I was exposed to the concept of dreams within dreams was – Nested domains in Multi-Voltage designs. Blame the nerd gene for triggering this reaction but the truth remains.

One thought led to another and before long I was dreaming about nested Multi-Voltage domains with donut shaped domains, which happens to be reality. The donut shaped nested domains is one of the new emerging flavors for nested Multi-Voltage designs and it brings a new set of requirements and challenges for the MV flow. Some of the key considerations for the donut shaped nested domains are:

  • Number of levels of nested hierarchy
  • Defining donut domains in the UPF
  • Hierarchy and netlist management for the top level and the donut domains
  • Placement of cells based on connectivity in the donut hole and the top level
  • Handling of level shifters based on connectivity (need to be placed in the donut hole or the top level)
  • Handling of isolation cells if the donut domain has a switching supply
  • Power routing to the donut hole if the donut domain has a switching supply
  • Power supply routing to the donut domain if the top level has a switching supply
  • Handling power switches if either the donut or the top level has a switching supply
  • Building a balanced clock tree for the donut domain
  • Signal Routing within the donut domain boundary and meeting timing requirements
  • Always-on buffer handling for the donut hole or the top level
  • Ensuring power integrity for all the domains, etc.

Nested Donut Domains in Multi-Voltage Designs

Nested Donut Domains in Multi-Voltage Designs

If there are more than two levels of nesting with donut shapes this list will get even longer and much more complex. Why exactly a designer would need a donut domain is beyond me but whoever planted the idea is playing a cruel practical joke. Now, if you will excuse me I need to go and spin my top.

Donut Domains, Multi-Voltage Flow, always-on, UPF

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About Arvind Narayanan

Arvind NarayananArvind Narayanan is the Olympus-SoC product marketing manager for Mentor’s place and route group. Arvind started his career as a microprocessor design engineer for Hal Computer Systems and has been in the semiconductor industry for over 14 years in different capacities, ranging from processor design engineer to application engineer and product marketing. His EDA experience includes working on STA at Synopsys and low power design analysis and implementation at Magma. At Mentor he has a broad view of the latest low power design techniques being used at our most advanced customers. Arvind earned his MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University, and MBA from Duke University. Visit The Power Play

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