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Course objectives: This course is about the design of digital systems using a hardware description language, VHDL.

  1. Define a hardware design utilizing the three basic VHDL modeling styles: data flow, structural, and behavioral.
  2. Define and utilize a VHDL test bench for validation of a component design.
  3. Explain the importance of separating vendor specific components from generic design components at the highest level of design abstraction.
  4. Design and implement a complex state machine utilizing VHDL.
  5. Describe the fundamental architecture of a standard Complex Programmable Logic Device.
  6. Describe the fundamental architecture of a standard Field Programmable Logic Device.
  7. Describe the advantages and disadvantages associated with the use of CPLDs and FPGAs.
  8. Design and build a complex hardware system utilizing a CPLD/FPGA.

Prerequisites: Minimal knowledge of computer logic design. The students who do not have the background can still take the course, but they should be prepared to spend additional time for learning them using the additional materials provided by the instructor.

Topics Covered

  • Introduction to VHDL
  • VHDL Basics
  • History of VHDL
  • Alternative modeling styles
  • Signals
  • Data typ
  • Standard numeric package
  • Process basi
  • Test benches
  • Simulations tools
  • Synchronous design
  • State machines
  • Virtual synthesis
  • Subprograms: functions and procedures
  • External input/output f
  • Blocks and packages
  • Components/for-generate/generic entities
  • Complex Programmable Devices or CPLDs
  • Field Programmable Devices or FPGAs
  • Fundamentals of CPLD hardware design


Level of the Course: The course is designed for junior or senior undergraduates and first year graduate students.

Text Book: Fundamentals of Digital Logic with VHDL Design, Bhaskar and Perry

Reference Book: Designers guide to VHDL, Peter J. Ashenden, Morgan Kaufman Publishers.

Course Software: Students should have access to a computer to do the assignments and projects. The computer may be either one’s own PC/laptop or a PC in general access laboratory. The student’s edition free software from Altera (http://www.altera.com/), Xilinx (http://www.xilinx.com), etc. will be used. A student is free to choose anyone of them. In other words, a student can work on assignments and projects anytime, anywhere, using any useful software and computer.

Selected Topics:

  1. Basics of digital design
  2. Design of combinational functional blocks (e.g. decoders, multiplexers, adder, multipliers, etc.)
  3. Design of sequential functional blocks (e.g. registers, counters, etc.)
  4. Design of Memory elements
  5. Building simple and pipelined datapaths (ALU, register file and their interconnection paths)
  6. Sequencing and control — hardwired control and microprogrammed control
  7. Single-cycle computer, multi-cycle computer, a pipelined computer design



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