Featured post

Top 5 books to refer for a VHDL beginner

VHDL (VHSIC-HDL, Very High-Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language) is a hardware description language used in electronic des...

Sunday 16 December 2012


Formal Definition

VITAL (VHDL Initiative Towards ASIC Libraries) is an initiative, which objective is to accelerate the development of sign-off quality ASIC macro-cell simulation libraries written in VHDL by leveraging existing methodologies of model development.

Complete description: IEEE Standard 1076.4.


VITAL, which is now standardized by IEEE, was created by an industry-based, informal consortium in order to accelerate the availability of ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) libraries for use in industrial VHDL simulators. As a result of the effort a new modeling specification has been created.

VITAL contains four main elements:

  • Model Development Specification document, which defines how ASIC libraries should be specified in VITAL-compliant VHDL in order to be simulated in VHDL simulators.
  • VHDL package Vital_Timing, defining standard types and procedures that support development of macro-cell timing models. The package contains routines for delay selections, timing violations checking and reporting and glitch detection.
  • VHDL package Vital_Primitives, defining commonly used combinatorial primitives provided both as functions and concurrent procedures and supporting either behavioral or structural modeling styles, e.g. VitalAND, VitalOR, VitalMux4, etc. The procedure versions of the primitives support separate pin-to-pin delay path and GlitchOnEvent glitch detection. Additionally, general purpose Truth Tables and State Tables are specified which are very useful in defining state machines and registers.
  • VITAL SDF map - specification that defines the mapping (translation) of Standard Delay Files (SDF), used for support timing parameters of real macro-cells, to VHDL generic values.


The modeling specification of VITAL defines several rules for VHDL files to be VITAL-compliant. This covers in particular:

  • Naming conventions for timing parameters and internal signals, including prefixes for timing parameters, which must be used in the generics specifications (Example 1);
  • How to use the types defined in the Vital_Timing package for specifications of timing parameters;
  • Methodology of coding styles;
  • Two levels of compliance: level 0 for complex models described at higher level, and level 1, which additionally permits model acceleration.

A VITAL-compliant specification consists of an entity with generics defining the timing parameters of the ports (Example 1) and an architecture that can be written in one of two coding styles: either pin-to-pin delay style or distributed delay style.


An architecture that follows this style contains two main parts (Example 2):

  • A block called Wire_Delay, which defines input path delays between input ports and internal signals. This block calls the concurrent procedure VitalPropagateWireDelay.
  • A process called VitalBehavior. This process may contain declarations of local aliases, constants and variables. It has a very rigid structure and is divided into three parts:
    • Timing Checks - does calls to procedure VitalTimingCheck which is defined in the package Vital_Timing.
    • Functionality - makes one or more calls to subprograms contained in the Vital_Primitives package and assignments to internal temporal variables. No wait statements, signal assignments or control structures are allowed here.
    • Path Delay - contains a call to VitalPropagateDelay for each output signal.


In this style the specification (ASIC cell) is composed of structural portions (VITAL primitives), each of which has its own delay. The output is an artifact of the structure, events and actual delays. All the functionality is contained in one block, called Vital_Netlist and this block may contain only calls to primitives defined in the Vital_Primitives package.


Example 1

library IEEE;
use IEEE.Std_Logic_1164.all;
library VITAL;
use VITAL.Vital_Timing.all;
use VITAL.Vital_Timing;
use VITAL.Vital_Primitives.all;
use VITAL.Vital_Primitives;
entity Counter is
  generic(tpd_ClkOut1 : DelayType01 := (10 ns, 10 ns);
  . . .);
  port (Reset : in Std_Logic := 'U';
    Clk : in Std_logic := 'U';
    CntOut : out Std_logic_Vector(3 downto 0));
end Counter;

This entity is a part of a VITAL-compliant specification of a four-bit synchronous counter with reset. Note that two libraries and three packages are used. In particular, multiple value logic types, defined in Std_Logic_1164, are standard logical types for VITAL.

The example given here specifies the propagation delay between the Clk input and the output number 1. The VITAL prefix tpd determines the timing parameter. The type used is specified in the Vital_Tming package.

Example 2

architecture PinToPin of Counter is
-- declarations of internal signals
-- Input path delay
  Wire_Delay: block
  -- calls to the VitalPropagateWireDelay procedure
  Vital_Timing.VitalPropagateWireDelay (. . .);
  . . .
end block;
-- Behavior section
VitalBehavior: process(. . .)
  -- declarations
  -- Timing Check
  Vital_Timing.VitalTimingCheck (. . .);
  -- Functionality
  Vital_Primitives.VitalStateTable (. . .);
  -- Path Delay
  Vital_Timing.VitalPropagatePathDelay (. . .);
  Vital_Timing.VitalPropagatePathDelay (. . .);
end process VitalBehavior;
end PinToPin;

The above listed architecture PinToPin is a template of a pin-to-pin modeling style. All its procedure calls should be specified with appropriate parameters.

Example 3

architecture DistrDelay of Counter is
  -- internal signals declarations
-- Input path delay
Vital_Netlist: block
  -- internal declarations of the block
  -- calls to VITAL primitives, for example
  Vital_Primitives.VitalAND2(. . .);
  Vital_Primitives.VitalBuf(. . .);
  Vital_Primitives.VitalStateTable(. . .);
  end block;
end DistrDelay;

The above listed Architecture DistrDelay is a template of a distributed delay modeling style. All its procedure calls should be specified with appropriate parameters.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please provide valuable comments and suggestions for our motivation. Feel free to write down any query if you have regarding this post.