By Sean Dart, Forte Design SystemsEmbedded.com (04/20/09, 07:27:00 PM EDT)
Electronic System Level (ESL) design is a rapidly involving and ever more important segment of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry. While ESL is still in a relatively early stage of deployment, there are many experiences that have been garnered from careers in the register transfer level (RTL) market that are applicable to this evolving domain.
A couple of important lessons learned from the RTL space:
- Hardware design has become highly "language" oriented
- Description of hardware devices requires specific hardware-oriented constructs, including hierarchical blocks, communicating modules, time and concurrency
- Efficient synthesis of the hardware description language (HDL) is critical
- Simulations in new languages must coexist with existing intellectual property (IP) blocks
- Development and support of industry standard languages is essential
High-Level Synthesis (HLS) is a critical element of a long-term ESL strategy. It provides a logical path to silicon for those parts of a system that a design team will implement as custom blocks, as opposed to existing block implementations from either past designs or those commercially acquired.
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