VLSI design and earth hour

Does not subject look a bit odd? Or may be first I need to clarify what is VLSI design and than ask the same question again. Okay, so as long as this post is concerned take any 'chip design' as a VLSI design. Chips here I mean an IC (Integrated Circuit), not potato chips :). IC. Which makes everyone of ours' life comfortable. Which is used in almost any of the electronic devices you purchase now-a-days. In your washing machine, in your bikes, in your cars, in your PC, in your laptops etc.

So having given this build-up let me start actual post. So, all readers who are also in VLSI field like me must be knowing that now-a-days low power design is buzz word in our domain. Me too felt the need of learning low power designs professionally and so the first question my curious mind asked was, what is the need for "low power design" ??? I asked, many people. I read few books. Almost all of them told me this reasons:

1) For battery operated devices like, laptop, low power design is required.
2) For devices which consumes more power creates more heat. And because of the heat generation, device junction temperature increases and so device's delay/timing characteristics changes unexpectedly leading it to failure.

Perfect. Those are the reasons. And I was about to jump to the heart of low power design techniques leaving "need for low power design" question as answered one. But than I came cross an another book about low power design where-as an author had expressed the need for low power design in completely different dimension. What he said is this:
Another demand for low power design comes from environmental concern. Modern offices are now furnished with office equipments that consume large amount of power. A study of "american council for enrgy efficient economy" estimated that office equipment account for 5% of total US commercial energy and could rise to 10% by 2000. Computers are fastest growing electricity loads in commercial sector. And inefficient energy usage in computing equipment indirectly contributes to environment pollution as well, because enery generation is major source of air pollution.
I was shocked to read that. Very true reason. After reading that I felt that I am also contributing in spoiling our mother earth. I might have celebrated earth hour by switching off the lights for an hour but I am also the one, whose designed chips consumes almost some 10% of the electricity of the nation !! This was like, joining a liquor prohibition campaign and owning a liquor company all at the same time. This what is life is. Life really contradicts itself.


  1. We can join the campaign by designing more efficient Low power designs...
    I am also verifying Low power design nowadays :)

  2. Well there are many reasons for the craze behind Low Power. One of the most rapidly growing markets today is the server market. Big companies like Google, Microsoft are piling up huge data centres to make space for the future... these centres are among the largest power consumers and the power consumption per square metre area is the highest at these centres.
    Ofcourse, the heating requirements are huge too!

    So such data centres want to cut the power costs and the cooling costs... you can notice that most companies prefer to build big data centres close to a river or a power plant!

  3. You might be knowing that CA Energy Commission has already put standard to follow by mid - 2013 for LCD TV.

    Just on figures, If 200 million LCD TVs set to be shipped in 2013 complied with the CEC standard, they would use a total of 64.4 billion kilowatt hours for the year, compared to 126.8 billion if they didn't. Means, nearly 50% power usage!

  4. hmm..so true..IT people are contributing to carbon emission a great deal by getting hooked to computer all day and yet IT industry keeps saying they are clean on environment degradation unlike the other industries/manufacturers..
    we all need to consciously cut down on our energy consumption..


Jaydip Mehta (JD)