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VLSI Design
Volume 9 (1999), Issue 2, Pages 181-201

Abstract Architecture Representation Using VSPEC

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Received 10 March 1996; Revised 2 April 1997

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Complex digital systems are often decomposed into architectures very early in the design process. Unfortunately, traditional simulation based languages such as VHDL do not allow the impact of these architectural decisions to be evaluated until a complete, simulatable design of the system is available. After a complete design is available, architectural errors are time-consuming and expensive to correct. However, there is an alternative to simulation based techniques: formal analysis of abstract architectures at the requirements level. This paper describes VSBEC'S approach for defining and analyzing abstract architectures. VSBEC is a Larch interface language for VHDL that allows a designer to specify the requirements of a VHDL entity using the canonical Larch approach. VHDL structural architectures that instantiate VSPEC entities define abstract architectures. These abstract architectures can be evaluated at the requirements level to determine the impact of architectural decisions. This paper briefly introduces VSPEC provides a formal definition of VSPEC abstract architectures and presents two examples that illustrate the architectural definition capabilities of the language.