- Series: Systems on Silicon
- Paperback: 668 pages
- Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1st edition (October 15, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558602704
- ISBN-13: 978-1558602700
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,370,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Designer's Guide to VHDL (Systems on Silicon) 1st Edition
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VHDL may sound like a new Internet language, but it really stands for VHSIC (Very High Speed Integrated Circuit) Hardware Definition Language. VHDL borrows ideas from software engineering (architectural, behavior, and formal models, as well as modular design) and is used to design today's custom integrated circuits, from cell phones to microwave ovens and even CPUs. Peter Ashenden's The Designer's Guide to VHDL shows you how to use this language to write a hardware design, which you can then test in a simulator before "synthesizing" it into an actual hardware design in silicon.
The book begins with the basics of VHDL, which, like any software language, has keywords, operators, flow control statements, and programming conventions. Next, the author introduces his first case study--a "pipelined multiplier accumulator," which simulates a CPU register. He then moves on to more complicated models, such as a design for a complete CPU (the DLX processor, which is used as a model for educating future CPU designers). More advanced aspects of VHDL follow, including guard signals, abstract data types, and even file I/O. A final case study (for a "queuing network") puts these components into practice. The book closes with a discussion of "synthesizers"--additional software tools that convert a VHDL specification into silicon--and how these tools impose design limits. The appendices include Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) enhancements to VHDL, which have increased the design language's power. Although most of us won't ever need to design our own integrated circuit, this book shows how it's done. Engineering students who need to master VHDL during a semester-length course, will find Ashenden's guide to be indispensable--and written in an accessible style rarely found in engineering texts.
The Designer's Guide to VHDL is both a comprehensive manual for the language and an authoritative reference on its use in hardware design at all levels, from system level down to gate level. Using the IEEE standard for VHDL, the author presents the entire description language and builds a modeling methodology based on successful software engineering techniques. Requiring only a minimal background in programming, this is an excellent tutorial for anyone in computer architecture, digital systems engineering, or CAD.
The book is organized so that it can either be read cover to cover for a comprehensive tutorial or be kept deskside as a reference to the language. Each chapter introduces a number of related concepts or language facilities and illustrates each one with examples. Scattered throughout the book are four case studies, which bring together preceding material in the form of extended worked examples. In addition, each chapter is followed by a set of rated exercises. -- Book Description
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Finally, and most importantly, I find his method of explaining things frusterating. He starts with a very abstract, formal syntactical definition, and then gives a specific example. OK, that's all fine. But he doesn't fill in the middle. What about the details and specifics? They might be there, but if so, they are probably buried in pages of discussion. He teaches VHDL like you might teach English grammar. The problem is, I already know assembly, C/C++, Matlab, Java and digital logic, so it would speed learning if he would relate or define the concepts in terms that most electrical engineers have general competency in. Instead, he leaves me scratching my head for 15 minutes trying to figure out what he means by something as elementary as a multi-dimensional array.
I'm sure this book is a great Bible for people setting out to make a career in VHDL development--those who want the "pure" and the "true" religion. But for the practicing researcher or scientist who just wants to make some relatively simple device, it should serve more as a reference text than a learning guide. But even as a reference text it falls short, so I'm left wondering what it is particularly useful for.
The review by Emmett Chadwick Bearden is spot on! If you are a pure CS major, great, you found your book. If you are a practicing EE, this book is a little on the useless side (but probably still worth owning). His statement "the examples only serve to make the concepts more mysterious" is spot on.
As other posters have noted, this is not a good book to learn to do VLSI design. It teaches you the syntax of how to write VHDL, and that's it. VHDL, even more so than many other languages, gives you plenty of rope with which to hang yourself. Just because you can write something a certain way in VHDL does not mean you should. Certain constructs which are allowed in VHDL will cause synthesis tools massive headaches. Nor does the book really teach you when to use procedural vs concurrent statements, or any other things you really need to know when using VHDL for its intended purpose: VLSI design.
Just like the second edition Kindle version (which I finally got fed up with and was refunded), the third edition was clearly not edited after the Kindle conversion process. Take as an example Table 2.2: This is supposed to be a table of the VHDL operators, but tell me, what does the operator "sllsrlorlror" do? According to the table, it is the "shift-left logicalshift-right logicalrotate leftrotate right"
Of course I understand what's going on here, and I can figure it out. But I shouldn't *have* to. It's wonderful that this book is available in the Kindle format. It's one more heavy book I don't have to lug around. But the quality is just not acceptable. This is a five-star book with one-star editing.
PLEASE fix this book!
The best thing is that makes VHDL-87, VHDL-93, VHDL-2002, VHDL-2008.
In my opinion the best and most complete Guide to VHDL available so far!!