Enhancing sensitivity-based power reduction for an industry IC design context

Hamed Fatemi, Andrew B. Kahng, Hyein Lee (Corresponding author), Jiajia Li, Jose Pineda de Gyvez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


For many years, discrete gate sizing has been widely used for timing and power optimization in VLSI designs. The importance of gate sizing optimization has been emphasized by academia for many years, especially since the 2012/2013 ISPD gate sizing contests [1, 2]. These contests have provided practical impetus to academic sizers through the use of realistic constraints and benchmark formats. At the same time, due to simplified delay/power Liberty models and timing constraints, the contests fail to address real-world criteria for gate sizing that are highly challenging in practice. We observe that lack of consideration of practical issues such as electrical and multi-corner constraints – along with limited sets of benchmarks – can misguide the development of contest-focused academic sizers. Thus, we study implications of the “gap” between academic sizers and product design use cases. In this paper, we note important constraints of modern industrial designs that are generally not comprehended by academic sizers. We also point out that various optimization techniques used in academic sizers can fail to offer benefits in product design contexts due to differences in the underlying optimization formulation and constraints. To address this gap, we develop a new robust academic sizer, Sizer, from a fresh implementation of Trident [3]. Experimental results show that Sizer is able to achieve up to 10% leakage power and 4% total power reductions compared to leading commercial tools on designs implemented with foundry technologies, and 7% leakage power reduction on a modern industrial design in the multi-corner multi-mode (MCMM) context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-111
Number of pages16
JournalIntegration : the VLSI Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Gate sizing
  • Industrial design
  • Multi-corner multi-mode
  • Physical optimization
  • Post-route optimization
  • Power and timing optimization


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