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A Vhdl Course For Electronics Engineering Technology

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.49.1 - 2.49.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Robert W. Nowlin

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Rajeswari Sundararajan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3220


Robert W. Nowlin and Raji Sundararajan Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology Arizona State University East Mesa, AZ 85206


Hardware Description Languages, VHDL and Verilog HDL, are being used extensively in industry to describe digital systems from very abstract levels down to gate levels and are in greater and greater use every day. Students who are trained in either of these languages have an advantage in the job market. The Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology Department at Arizona State University has offered a course in VHDL to both undergraduate and graduate students for the past three years. Students learn the basics of the language in addition to many advanced techniques such as generate statements, guarded signals and block statements. An attractive serendipity of a course in VHDL is that students are forced to learn (or re-learn) more accurately how hardware elements operate because they can cannot model the hardware operation unless they understand it. Students learn to describe hardware operations using several VHDL modeling techniques such as behavioral and structural. The techniques of VHDL are re-enforced through a series of mini-projects and a major final project in which students learn to apply their VHDL knowledge on a commercial grade VHDL simulator. Another benefit that this course has engendered is that several of the graduate students have used their knowledge of the language to incorporate it as either a major or supplemental portion of their masters' projects.


The microprocessor and with it the PC has invaded every business and many homes. Many designs today are incorporating embedded processors or their first cousins, the microcontroller. Even the old standby analog world is becoming more and more digital. The pressure on designers in industry today is to design products and bring them to market at an ever accelerating pace. Designs that lag behind, even though sometimes technically better, never see the market. Many software packages have been developed to help designers achieve and produce their designs more efficiently. One of these classes of software packages is the hardware description languages or HDLs.

VHDL, a hardware description language for Very High Speed Integrated Circuits (VHSIC) was developed in the early 80’s to help the government standardize methods of describing hardware designs. This later became IEEE standard 1076 [1] and was modified and updated in 1993. Most digital designs today use the hardware description techniques provided

Nowlin, R. W., & Sundararajan, R. (1997, June), A Vhdl Course For Electronics Engineering Technology Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6893

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