Sequence and Toshiba Achieves Leakage Power Breakthrough

11/3/2004 - Sequence announced a major milestone in its recent power optimization efforts with Toshiba, successfully signing-off Toshiba's wireless design using Sequence's MTCMOS (Multi-Threshold CMOS) technology. With this success, Sequence becomes the EDA industry's first company to achieve power-gating optimization by dramatically reducing leakage on a 90 nanometer design.

"The leakage current reduction realized by Sequence is not possible with any other currently available tool," said Shinichi Imai, senior manager of System LSI Design Department, Toshiba Corporation. "Sequence's innovative circuit design and automation techniques used on Toshiba's MTCMOS technology automatically reduced leakage currents while concurrent electrical checks ensured that the logic and signaling did not violate user-specified limits on key electrical parameters such as virtual ground voltages and currents."

MTCMOS power-gating works to reduce leakage currents by disconnecting the power supply from portions of the circuit when those portions are inactive. Leaking currents are prevented by inserting a series switch transistor between the logic cells and the power supply or ground. The switch is closed when the logic is operational and opened when the logic is inactive. Sequence and Toshiba have worked together to develop an automated process, based on Sequence's Physical Studio framework, to size and insert power-rail switching transistors. Reductions of 10x to 100x in leakage can be achieved by using this technique.

"Toshiba and Sequence share a common vision and passion to take the challenge of power consumption at the nanometer level head-on, and it's a very humbling experience to have realized this goal with our partner," said Vic Kulkarni, CEO and president of Sequence Design. "The results of our work will bring immense value to the VLSI designers and VLSI companies battling the leakage problem in nanometer design."

The Leakage Problem
Leakage control has become a major design issue due to leakage currents that drain a battery's charge even when a wireless device is inactive or in standby mode. Transistors in each new process generation are leakier than those in previous generations (due to transistor scaling effects), only exacerbating the problem.

Leakage is also an issue in active mode, when the transistors are operational, as any power wasted due to leakage is not available to be allocated to performance enhancing logic -- that is, leakage power comes right off the top of the overall power budgets.

Sealing the Leak
The Sequence power methodology includes fully automatic gate level power optimization technology for the reduction of both dynamic and leakage power. The optimizations may be run independently or together with no adverse impact on area or timing. Sequence's MTCMOS approach utilizes patent pending optimization algorithms that result in minimum area overhead and minimal performance impact.

Leverages NanoCool Experience
The addition of MTCMOS technology to Sequence's PhysicalStudio leverages the company's experience in low-power design tools as part of its NanoCool Initiative, a joint venture between semiconductor designers, EDA tool vendors, IP companies, and library suppliers, to provide a complete flow offering concurrent power management, timing and signal integrity capabilities to achieve rapid design closure at 90 nanometers and below. Artisan, Novas and GoldenGate are part of the NanoCool initiative.

About Sequence
Sequence Design, Inc. enables system-on-chip designers to bring higher-performance and lower-power integrated circuits quickly to fabrication. Sequence's power and signal integrity software give its more than 130 customers the competitive advantage they need to excel in aggressive technology markets, despite demanding complexity and time-to-market issues of nanometer design.

Sequence has worldwide development and field service operations. The company was recently named by Reed Electronics as one of the top 10 companies to watch in the electronics industry. Sequence is privately held. Sequence is a member of Cadence Design Systems' Connections(TM) and Mentor Graphics' Open Door(TM) partnership programs. Additional information is available at

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