What Is a Hardware Description Language (HDL)?


Digital circuits consist primarily of interconnected transistors. We design and analyze these circuits with assistance from a hierarchical construction: we might, in concept, interpret a central processing unit (CPU) as an unlimited sea of transistors, however it’s a lot simpler to prepare transistors into logic gates, logic gates into adders or registers or timing modules, registers into reminiscence banks, and so forth.

This hierarchical construction permits us to successfully signify a digital circuit via interconnected diagrams. We name this a schematic. This visible strategy to describing a digital circuit is intuitive, but it surely turns into impractical as complexity will increase. One other solution to describe digital circuits is to make use of a textual language that’s particularly meant to obviously and concisely seize the defining options of digital design.

Such languages exist, and they’re known as {hardware} description languages (HDLs).


What Do HDLs Do?

The preferred {hardware} description languages are Verilog and VHDL. They’re extensively used together with FPGAs, that are digital gadgets which are particularly designed to facilitate the creation of personalized digital circuits.

{Hardware} description languages permit you to describe a circuit utilizing phrases and symbols, after which growth software program can convert that textual description into configuration information that’s loaded into the FPGA with the intention to implement the specified performance.


An Instance of HDL Code

Right here is an instance of HDL code:


1 entity Circuit_1 is

2     Port ( a : in  STD_LOGIC;

3           b : in STD_LOGIC;

4           out1 : out STD_LOGIC);

5 finish Circuit_1;


6 structure Behavioral of Circuit_1 is

eight start

9 out1 <= ( a and b );

10 finish Behavioral;


{The electrical} habits described by this code will be visually represented as follows:



Programming Languages vs. {Hardware} Description Languages

Many individuals are already aware of programming languages once they start to study {hardware} description languages. HDLs resemble high-level programming languages corresponding to C or Python, but it surely’s necessary to grasp that there’s a basic distinction: statements in HDL code contain parallel operation, whereas programming languages signify sequential operation.

After we write a pc program or firmware module, we perceive that the processor will execute strains of code separately, following the top-to-bottom group that we use when studying textual content on a web page.

In HDL code, we’re describing digital {hardware}, and separate parts of this {hardware} can function concurrently, even if the corresponding strains of code are written utilizing a top-to-bottom group.


Additional Studying


What do you wish to study about {hardware} description languages? Share your questions within the feedback under.

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