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TEAM-ADA  February 2000

TEAM-ADA February 2000

Subject:

FW: Ada-VHDL the Next Design Solution

From:

"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 9 Feb 2000 22:40:27 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (90 lines)

From: Bob Leif

I just sent the following letter to Electronic Design. At the bottom, I have
a quotation that demonstrates that the truth about C++ is slowly becoming
known. I believe that a letter should be published by Electronic Design and
hope that the rest of you will submit your own letters. The probability of
one Ada letter being published by Electronic Design significantly increases
with the number submitted.

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert C. Leif, Ph.D. [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2000 10:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Ada-VHDL the Next Design Solution


Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.
Vice President & Research Director
Newport Instruments
5648 Toyon Road
San Diego, CA 92115-1022
Tel. & Fax (619) 582-0437
E-mail [log in to unmask]

Cheryl Ajluni
Electronic Design Automation
Electronic Design
[log in to unmask]

Subject: Ada-VHDL the Next Design Solution

Dear Ms. Ajluni, I read with great interest your article, “System-Level
Languages Fight to Take Over as The Next Design Solution, January 24, 2000.
I must applaud you and Gary Smith for pointing out the pitfalls of C++.  Mr.
Smith finally told the truth to the engineering community, “It seems that
C++ actually was a failure. That's why the standard language today is
actually C/C++. C++ adds a lot to C. But if you try to use it as a
standalone object-oriented design language, it doesn't work too well;
Quality is a major concern.” Unfortunately, no mention was made of the one
language that really meets your requirements, Ada.  Ada is an ISO standard
(ISO/IEC 8652:1995) that includes: extensive concurrency constructs
including rate-monotonic scheduling, the ability to treat bit patterns as
standard data types, a superlative object model, and an unparalleled record
of reliability.

Ada and VHDL were initially supposed to be the same language. In fact, M.
Mills and G. Peterson have demonstrated in their paper, “Hardware/Software
Co-design: VHDL and Ada 95 Code Migration and Integrated Analysis,”
Proceedings ACM SIGAda Annual International Conference (SIGAda’98) ACM
Press, pages 18-27, a mapping of VHDL to Ada is reasonably straight forward.
The parts of VHDL that are not in Ada could be added as annexes to the Ada
standard.  In fact, since translators can be created between VHDL and Ada,
the two languages should be merged.
______________________________________-
This may be of use with some managers.

In a sidebar Gary Smith wrote:

Design teams would start with the Rosetta language and then hand it down to
C, ++, Verilog, VHDL, etc. As a result, designers could prove that, whatever
language is used, the resulting lower?level description will meet the
specification. That's a very comforting thought in an era of
multimillion?dollar design programs.

Today, though, designers translate the English specification directly into
C/C++ or actually a superset of C/C++. Hardware design is concurrent,
whereas soft?ware design and design languages like c are sequential. That's
what systems C and CynApps libraries are ail about. They're simply
standardizing a design practice that's been going on for 10 years. There are
dozens; if not hundreds, of proprietary C libraries used for systems
modeling. System C and CynApps offer concurrent C++ modeling library
standards??nothing more, nothing less. These are vital in hardware/software
codesign, as well as for use with the coverification tools presently on the
market. Like all design, it starts with the models.

So what about Java? It's basically the same thing. It seems that C++
actually was a failure. That's why the standard language today is actually
C/C++. C++ adds a lot to C. But if you try to use it as a standalone
object??oriented design language, it doesn't work too well; Quality is a
major concern. The pointer issue takes most of the blame. Also, one
designer's objects don't talk well with other designers' objects. This is
pretty familiar territory for a hardware designer: A growing number of
people believe that Java will replace C/C++ within four to six years: But
it's a sequential language and, as I pointed out before, we have a
concurrent design problem. From a system??level perspective, it seems that
for EDA tool vendors, the real dividing line in the design process may be
between concurrent and sequential design (see the sidebar figure):

70 ELECTRONIC DESIGN • January 24, 2000

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