C to HDL

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C to HDL tools convert C or C-like computer program code into a hardware description language (HDL) such as VHDL or Verilog. The converted code can then be synthesized and translated into a hardware device such as a field-programmable gate array. The motivation for this is that writing in a hardware description language can be tedious and time consuming.

C to RTL is another name for this methodology. RTL refers to the register transfer level representation of a program necessary to implement it in logic.


Early development on C to HDL was done by Ian Page, Charles Sweeney and colleagues at Oxford University in the 1990s who developed the Handel-C language. They commercialized their research by forming Embedded Solutions Limited (ESL) in 1999 which was renamed Celoxica in September 2000. In 2008, the embedded systems departments of Celoxica was for $3 million and which later merged to become Agility Computing. In January 2009, Mentor Graphics acquired Agility's C synthesis assets.


C to HDL techniques are most commonly applied to applications that have unacceptably high execution times on existing general-purpose supercomputer architectures. Examples include Bioinformatics, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), financial processing, and oil and gas survey data analysis. Embedded applications...
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