Event and cycle semantics of hardware description languages

Mike Gordon

Abstract

Modern hardware desciption languages (HDLs) are interpreted in different ways for different purposes. Classical simulation uses an event semantics to model detailed asynchronous behaviour. However, current compilers from HDLs to circuits generally target clocked synchronous implementations and so use a synchronous cycle-based semantics, as do high speed cycle simulators. The talk will start with a tutorial on event and cycle semantics (aimed at computer scientists, not electrical engineers) and then outline current work at Cambridge on developing semantics for Verilog, the most widely used HDL (62 percent market share).