As was described on the Systems Architecture subject page, one major step up in hierarchy leads to Network Management. Starting again at the systems architecture level, one major step down in hierarchy leads to Verilog and VHDL. One can say that Verilog and VHDL are to hardware as assembly language programming is to software.

The acronym VHDL stands for VHSIC (Very High Speed Integrated Circuits) Hardware Description Language, one of the most widely used of the hardware description languages, the other being Verilog. In essence, both allow designers of digital circuits to study the behavior of those circuits at the register transfer level. What this means is that they allow abstract modeling of signals being transferred from one register to another, where a register is the actual hardware of a digital circuit that stores bits of information. As such, Verilog and VHDL provide a means through which digital circuits can be designed, verified, and ultimately implemented.

A course in Verilog or VHCL will most likely involve the following topics:

  • Design methodology
  • Combinational logic design
  • Sequential logic design
  • Logic design with Verilog
  • Logic design with behavioral models of combinational and sequential logic
  • Synthesis of combinational and sequential logic
  • Design and synthesis of datapath controllers
  • Programmable logic and storage devices
  • Architectures and algorithms for digital processors
  • Architectures for arithmetic processors
  • Post-synthesis design tasks

A quick visit to will lead to many books on the subject, or if you prefer, you can find a superb Verilog tutorial and VHDL tutorial.

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