Computer-Aided Digital Design
Subject Code: ECP4186
Objective of Subject: Introduction to hardware description languages and associated methodologies for digital system design and the use of hardware design languages for expressing, simulating, and synthesizing digital designs targeting to ASIC/FPGA.
Learning Outcome of Subject: At the completion of the subject, students should be able to:
  • Understand the structured design concepts and abstraction levels of IC design.
  • Understand the basic concepts of VHDL.
  • Understand different VHDL modeling techniques like structural level modeling, RTL modeling , datapath level modeling and algorithmic level modeling.
  • Understand different ASIC types and their design processes, standard cell ASIC synthesis, FPGA design paradigm, architecture and synthesis.
  • Know how to do top down design with FPGA and write RTL VHDL code for synthesis.
  • Know how to do optimization, mapping and delay calculation.
Programme Outcomes:
  • Ability to acquire and apply fundamental principles of science and engineering(10%)
  • Capability to communicate effectively(10%)
  • Acquisition of technical competence in specialised areas of engineering discipline(50%)
  • Ability to identify, formulate and model problems and find engineering solutions based on a systems approach(15%)
  • Understanding of the importance of sustainability and cost-effectiveness in design and development of engineering solutions(5%)
  • Ability to work independently as well as with others in a team(10%)
Assessment Scheme:
  • Lab Experiment - work in group of 2,written and oral assessment at the end of lab(20%)
  • Tutorial / Assignment - group assignment,to enhance understanding of basic concepts in lecture(5%)
  • Test/Quiz - written exam(15%)
  • Final Exam - written exam(60%)
Teaching and Learning Activities : 53 hours (lectures,tutorials and laboratory experiments)
Credit Hours: 3
Pre-Requisite: ECP2036: Microprocessor System and Interfacing
  • Stefan Sjoholm and Lennart Lind, “VHDL for Designer”, Prentice Hall, 1997
  • James A. Armstrong and F. Gail Gray, "VHDL Design", 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, 2000
  • Zainalabedin Navabi, "VHDL: Analysis and Modeling of Digital Systems", 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, 1998.
  • Charles H. Roth, “Digital Systems Design with VHDL”, International Thomson Publishing Asia, 1998.
  • Douglas Perry, " VHDL", 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1998.
  • Kevin Skahill, “VHDL for Programmable Logic”, Prentice Hall, 1996.
  • Victor P. Nelson, H. Troy Nagle, Bill D. Carrol, J. David Irwin, “Digital Logic Circuit Analysis and Design”, Prentice-Hall, 1995.

Subject Contents

  • Structured Design Concepts

  • Design constructs, Design Levels, Geometry-based interchange formats, Computer aided electronic system design tools, Schematic circuit capture, Hardware description languages, Design process (simulation, synthesis), Structural design decomposition.
  • Introduction to VHDL

  • VHDL language abstractions, Design hierarchies, VHDL component, Lexical description, VHDL source file, Data types, Data objects, Language statements, Concurrent VHDL, Sequential VHDL, Advanced features of VHDL (library, package and subprograms).
  • VHDL Modeling Techniques

  • Structural level modeling, Register-Transfer level modeling, Finite State Machine with Datapath level modeling, Algorithmic level modeling.
  • ASIC and ASIC Design Process

  • Introduction of ASIC, Types of ASIC, ASIC design process, Standard cell ASIC synthesis, FPGA Design Paradigm, FPGA synthesis, FPGA/CPLD Architectures.
  • VHDL Design Methodology

  • Top-down design flow, Verification, simulation alternatives, simulation speed, Formal verification, Recommendations for verification, Writing RTL VHDL code for synthesis, Top-down design with FPGA.
  • Design for Synthesis

  • VHDL synthesis, Optimization and mapping, Constraints, Technology library, Delay calculation, Synthesis tool, Synthesis directives.


1. RAM Design
2. ALU modeling of DLX processor in FPGA