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Abstract: Connecting the System to the Chip: Using VHDL/VITAL for Board-level Simulation

By Russell E. Vreeland


“Systems on Silicon ” has been an oft-repeated phrase of the last couple years. The ability to pack more and more gates onto a single IC has made this buzz phrase a reality and brought many issues to the forefront: Intellectual Property concerns, sub-micron design & verification methodologies, speed & size hurdles, entirely new or rejuvenated strategies such as cycle-based simulation and formal methods. This is all fine, but somewhere away from the sexy, leading-edge design arenas tackling million-gate designs, there are still boards being made to put all these Systems-On-Silicon; no one has yet proposed free-floating ASICs holographically connected to the rest of the universe. These boards with their attendant glue logic and other off-the-shelf logical components may still need to be simulated either alone or with their valuable ASIC cargo. The Free Model Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, was formed by myself and 3 other engineers, who were working at TRW Inc. at the time. Our motivation was brought about by the lack of easily available board-level VHDL simulation models. Our goals were and are to encourage the use of standards-based board-level simulation by posting our findings, utilities, and simulation models to the public domain. “We ” in this paper refers to the FMF, either working on our own, or previously working for TRW Inc

Year: 2009
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