VHDL

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VHDL (VHSIC hardware description language) is a hardware description language used in electronic design automation to describe digital and mixed-signal systems such as field-programmable gate arrays and integrated circuits.

Contents

History

VHDL was originally developed at the behest of the U.S Department of Defense in order to document the behavior of the ASICs that supplier companies were including in equipment. That is to say, VHDL was developed as an alternative to huge, complex manuals which were subject to implementation-specific details.

The idea of being able to simulate this documentation was so obviously attractive that logic simulators were developed that could read the VHDL files. The next step was the development of logic synthesis tools that read the VHDL, and output a definition of the physical implementation of the circuit.

Because the Department of Defense required as much of the syntax as possible to be based on Ada, in order to avoid re-inventing concepts that had already been thoroughly tested in the development of Ada,[citation needed] VHDL borrows heavily from the Ada programming language in both concepts and syntax.

The initial version of VHDL, designed to IEEE standard 1076-1987, included a wide range of data types, including numerical (integer and real), logical (bit and boolean), character and time, plus arrays of bit called bit_vector and of character called string.

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