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Introduction to the Verilog Language

Posted in FPGA and Verilog

Verilog HDL is a hardware description language (HDL) that uses text to describe the structure and behavior of digital system hardware. It can be used to represent logic circuit diagrams, logical expressions, and the logical functions performed by digital logic systems. It is generally divided into synthesizable design modules and stimulus files used for simulation.

Synthesizable modules can be used for hardware circuit implementation, such as final layouts on FPGA, CPLD, and ASIC chips. In 1990, Gateway Design Automation was acquired by Cadence Design Systems, which has since maintained Verilog as part of its EDA software.

FPGA and Verilog
FPGA and Verilog

Verilog language was initially developed by Gateway Design Automation in 1983 as a hardware modeling language for its simulator products. The Verilog language became an IEEE standard in 1995, known as IEEE Std 1364-1995, commonly referred to as Verilog-95. Verilog-2001 is a major improved version of Verilog-95, which includes some new practical features such as sensitivity lists, multidimensional arrays, generate statement blocks, and named port connections. Currently, Verilog-2001 is the most mainstream version of Verilog and is supported by most commercial electronic design automation software packages.

The difference between Verilog and C language: Verilog is a hardware description language. After it is compiled and downloaded to the FPGA, it generates circuits. Therefore, Verilog is run in parallel. C language is a software programming language. After being compiled and downloaded to the CPU or microcontroller, it becomes a set of instructions in memory. The CPU or microcontroller needs to perform several steps such as fetching, decoding, and execution to process the software instructions, and the entire process is executed sequentially.

Related:   Compiling and Linking Process of the C Programming language

Due to its simple syntax, quick learning curve, and wide range of supported EDA tools, Verilog has gained the favor of many engineers. Learning and using Verilog HDL is a necessary language for design and verification engineers in the fields of FPGA and digital IC design. Additionally, mastering Verilog can deepen one’s understanding of digital system design and serve as a great reference when learning other hardware description languages such as VHDL and System Verilog HDL.

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