The ability to have a synthesizable subset of the language does not itself make a hardware description language. The first hardware description languages appeared in the late s, looking like more traditional languages. Separate work done about at the University of Kaiserslautern produced a language called KARL "KAiserslautern Register Transfer Language" , which included design calculus language features supporting VLSI chip floorplanning [ jargon ] and structured hardware design.
By the late s, design using programmable logic devices PLDs became popular, although these designs were primarily limited to designing finite state machines. In , a request from the U. HDL simulation enabled engineers to work at a higher level of abstraction than simulation at the schematic level, and thus increased design capacity from hundreds of transistors to thousands.
Synthesis tools compiled HDL source files written in a constrained format called RTL into a manufacturable netlist description in terms of gates and transistors. Writing synthesizable RTL files required practice and discipline on the part of the designer; compared to a traditional schematic layout, synthesized RTL netlists were almost always larger in area and slower in performance [ citation needed ]. However, VHDL and Verilog share many of the same limitations: neither is suitable for analog or mixed-signal circuit simulation; neither possesses language constructs to describe recursively-generated logic structures.
Specialized HDLs such as Confluence were introduced with the explicit goal of fixing specific limitations of Verilog and VHDL, though none were ever intended to replace them. Over the years, much effort has been invested in improving HDLs. A future revision of VHDL is also in development [ when? As a result of the efficiency gains realized using HDL, a majority of modern digital circuit design revolves around it.
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Most designs begin as a set of requirements or a high-level architectural diagram. Control and decision structures are often prototyped in flowchart applications, or entered in a state diagram editor. The process of writing the HDL description is highly dependent on the nature of the circuit and the designer's preference for coding style. Designers often use scripting languages such as Perl to automatically generate repetitive circuit structures in the HDL language.
The HDL code then undergoes a code review, or auditing. In preparation for synthesis, the HDL description is subject to an array of automated checkers. The checkers report deviations from standardized code guidelines, identify potential ambiguous code constructs before they can cause misinterpretation, and check for common logical coding errors, such as floating ports or shorted outputs.
This process aids in resolving errors before the code is synthesized.
In industry parlance, HDL design generally ends at the synthesis stage. Once the synthesis tool has mapped the HDL description into a gate netlist, the netlist is passed off to the back-end stage. In general, as the design flow progresses toward a physically realizable form, the design database becomes progressively more laden with technology-specific information, which cannot be stored in a generic HDL description. Finally, an integrated circuit is manufactured or programmed for use.
Simulation allows an HDL description of a design called a model to pass design verification , an important milestone that validates the design's intended function specification against the code implementation in the HDL description.
It also permits architectural exploration. The engineer can experiment with design choices by writing multiple variations of a base design, then comparing their behavior in simulation.
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Thus, simulation is critical for successful HDL design. To simulate an HDL model, an engineer writes a top-level simulation environment called a test bench. An HDL simulator — the program that executes the testbench — maintains the simulator clock, which is the master reference for all events in the testbench simulation.
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Events occur only at the instants dictated by the testbench HDL such as a reset-toggle coded into the testbench , or in reaction by the model to stimulus and triggering events. Modern HDL simulators have full-featured graphical user interfaces , complete with a suite of debug tools.
These allow the user to stop and restart the simulation at any time, insert simulator breakpoints independent of the HDL code , and monitor or modify any element in the HDL model hierarchy. Design verification is often the most time-consuming portion of the design process, due to the disconnect between a device's functional specification , the designer's interpretation of the specification, and the imprecision [ citation needed ] of the HDL language. An HDL description can also be prototyped and tested in hardware — programmable logic devices are often used for this purpose.
Hardware prototyping is comparatively more expensive than HDL simulation, but offers a real-world view of the design. Prototyping is the best way to check interfacing against other hardware devices and hardware prototypes. Historically, design verification was a laborious, repetitive loop of writing and running simulation test cases against the design under test.
As chip designs have grown larger and more complex, the task of design verification has grown to the point where it now dominates the schedule of a design team. Looking for ways to improve design productivity, the electronic design automation industry developed the Property Specification Language. For any issue or feedback, please write to ndl-support iitkgp. Access Restriction Subscribed. Log-in to view content. FAQ Help. Member Log-In. E-mail address. Remember me. Account recovery. You receive free shipping if your order includes at least of EGP of fulfilled by souq items.
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