**keysymbols**: =, <=.

#### Blocking (the = operator)

With blocking assignments each statement in the same time frame is executed in sequential order within their blocks. If there is a time delay in one line then the next statement will not be executed until this delay is over.

integer a,b,c,d;

initial begin

a = 4; b = 3; example 1

#10 c = 18;

#5 d = 7;

end

Above, at time=0 both a and b will have 4 and 3 assigned to them respectively and at time=10, c will equal 18 and at time=15, d will equal 7.

#### Non-Blocking (the <= operator)

Non-Blocking assignments tackle the procedure of assigning values to variables in a totally different way. Instead of executing each statement as they are found, the right-hand side variables of all non-blocking statements are read and stored in temporary memory locations. When they have all been read, the left-hand side variables will be determined. They are non-blocking because they allow the execution of other events to occur in the block even if there are time delays set.

integer a,b,c;

initial begin

a = 67;

#10;

a <= 4; example 2

c <= #15 a;

d <= #10 9;

b <= 3;

end

This example sets a=67 then waits for a count of 10. Then the right-hand variables are read and stored in tempory memory locations. Here this is a=67. Then the left-hand variables are set. At time=10 a and b will be set to 4 and 3. Then at time=20 d=9. Finally at time=25, c=a which was 67, therefore c=67.

Note that d is set before c. This is because the four statements for setting a-d are performed at the same time. Variable d is not waiting for variable c to complete its task. This is similar to a *Parallel Block*.

This example has used both blocking and non-blocking statements. The blocking statement could be non-blocking, but this method saves on simulator memory and will not have as large a performance drain.

**Application of Non-Blocking Assignments:**

We have already seen that non-blocking assignments can be used to enable variables to be set anywhere in time without worrying what the previous statements are going to do.

Another important use of the non-blocking assignment is to prevent race conditions. If the programmer wishes two variables to swap their values and blocking operators are used, the output is not what is expected:

initial begin

x = 5;

y = 3;

end

example 3

always @(negedge clock) begin

x = y;

y = x;

end

This will give both x and y the same value. If the circuit was to be built a race condition has been entered which is unstable. The compliler will give a stable output, however this is not the output expected. The simulator assigns x the value of 3 and then y is then assigned x. As x is now 3, y will not change its value. If the non-blocking operator is used instead:

always @(negedge) begin

x <= y; example 4

y <= x;

end

both the values of x and y are stored first. Then x is assigned the old value of y (3) and y is then assigned the old value of x (5).

Another example when the non-blocking operator has to be used is when a variable is being set to a new value which involves its old value.

i <= i+1;

or examples 5,6

register[5:0] <= {register[4:0] , new_bit};

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