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Communications of the ACM

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Streamlining Chip Design


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Nirav Dave and Myron King

MIT researchers Nirav Dave and Myron King

Credit: MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a system that enables hardware designers to specify, in a single programming language, all of the functions they want a device to perform.

The system allows chip designers to designate which functions should run in hardware and which in software, and the system will automatically produce the corresponding circuit descriptions and computer code.

The system is based on BlueSpec, a chip-design language that enables designers to specify a set of rules that the chip must follow and convert those specifications into Verilog code. The MIT researchers expanded the BlueSpec instruction set so that it can describe more elaborate operations that are possible only in software.

"What we're trying to give people is a language where they can describe the algorithm once and then play around with how the algorithm is partitioned," says MIT student Myron King.

From MIT News
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