Plato said, "The measure of man is what he does with power." Integrated circuit designers donít need to measure men but they do need to measure power and many have no real methodology for measuring power, despite the fact that reducing power has become one of the major challenges in design. Knowing which techniques are appropriate to use to reduce power is an impossible decision if there is no way to consistently measure the power in the first place. This is not just an esoteric issue that can be ignored.
More and more, the power dissipation of a chip shows through all the way to the end-user of the system where the chip will be used. Average power determines battery life. Peak power determines cooling and grid power provisioning requirements. At the detailed level, power drives metal widths for on-chip power grids, determine operating temperatures and package choices. All of these, in turn, significantly affect both the cost of the chip and impact its development schedule.