Leakage power analysis and reduction during behavioral synthesis

Kamal S. Khouri, Niraj K. Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This paper presents a high-level leakage power analysis and reduction algorithm. The algorithm uses device-level models for leakage to precharacterize a given register-transfer level module library. This is used to estimate the power consumption of a circuit due to leakage. The algorithm can also identify and extract the frequently idle modules in the datapath, which may be targeted for low-leakage optimization. Leakage optimization is based on the use of dual threshold voltage (VT) technology. The algorithm prioritizes modules giving a high-level synthesis system an indication of where most gains for leakage reduction may be found. We tested our algorithm using a number of benchmarks from various sources. We ran a series of experiments by integrating our algorithm into a low-power high-level synthesis system. In addition to reducing the power consumption due to switching activity, our algorithm provides the high-level synthesis system with the ability to detect and reduce leakage power consumption, hence, further reducing total power consumption. This is shown over a number of technology generations. The trend in these generations indicates that leakage becomes the dominant component of power at smaller feature size and lower supply voltages. Results show that using a dual-VT library during high-level synthesis can reduce leakage power by an average of 58% for the different technology generations. Total power can be reduced by an average of 15.0%-45.0% for 0.18-0.07 μm technologies, respectively. The contribution of leakage power to overall power consumption ranges from 22.6% to 56.2%. Our approach reduced these values to 11.7%-26.9%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-885
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • High-level synthesis
  • Leakage power
  • Power analysis
  • Power optimization


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