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Obtaining functionally equivalent simulations using VHDL and a time-shift transformation

Abstract

The advent of VHDL has brought about a number of VHDL simulators. Many translation schemes from domain specific languages to supposedly equivalent VHDL have been developed as an approach to obtaining simulations. However, functionally equivalent VHDL can not be created for the general case, due to a theoretical limitation to this approach. It is a very subtle point and has thus been overlooked until now, but it is extremely important since it can cause incorrect simulation, therefore making translations to VHDL an unsound simulation technique. In this paper, we introduce this fundamental limitation. In addition, we propose an alternative approach which strives for functionally equivalent simulation rather than functionally equivalent VHDL, while still taking advantage of VHDL simulators. Our method uses a novel time-shift transformation, also introduced in this paper, in conjunction with almost any translation scheme. The method makes correct simulations easily obtainable, thus bridging the gap to a truly sound and highly advantageous use of VHDL as a tool for simulating domain specific languages.

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