Synthesis from specifications : basic concepts
- Author(s): Vahid, Frank
- Narayan, Sanjiv
- Gajski, Daniel D.
- et al.
The need has evolved for a synthesis tool at the computer system level. SpecSyn is one such tool. Basically, it will view the world as a set of chips communicating via protocols. Thus, an abstract specification would get synthesized into a set of one or more interconnected chips. From that point, detail is added to each chip's specification until its structure is synthesized or it is determined that a prefabricated chip similar in functionality can be used.
Features of such a tool include executable specifications from which to synthesize, constraint driven partitioning of the specifications into components (chips) and synthesis of interfaces between them, translation into VHDL and synthesis into VHDL structures of micro-architectural components, and the use of other tools (e.g. MILO, a micro-architecture and logic optimizer, and LES, a layout expert system) to evaluate the quality of the chip layout generated from VHDL description.
A major component of SpecSyn is SpecCharts, a high level specification language amenable to system level synthesis, able to represent designs from system to register transfer levels. The language consists of a hierarchy of states, represented in combined graphical and textual form, at the same time catering to the expression of concurrent behavior and specification of constraints. With it we have specified several Intel chips as well as higher level systems, and have found it to be quite powerful and easy to use.
SpecSyn will have a graphical interface, from which the user can at any time view or edit a SpecChart, translate to VHDL and simulate, view statistics provided by estimators (such as area, speed, and pins), store and retrieve SpecCharts, apply basic Spec Chart operations, as well as apply the partitioning algorithms or interface synthesizer. Providing access to a wide range of tools, having a single language represent the design throughout the synthesis process, and having user specified constraints allow the user to have varying amounts of control over the synthesis process.