Education

 

In the classroom

 

Overview

Elevating the silicon industry begins with education. With TL-Verilog and Makerchip we are making digital logic more approachable, more accessible, and hands-on from day one. We collaborate with educators and partners to develop open curricula, including virtual and in-person classes in digital logic, computer architecture, and FPGA labs.​

TL-Verilog and Makerchip are ideal for:

  • Intro to Digital Logic

  • Computer Architecture

  • FPGA Design Labs

Digital Logic and Computer Architecture Curricula

The EDA industry is finally recognizing that RTL is a legacy design methodology that cannot sustain the industry going forward. Yet universities continue to teach RTL to align with current job openings. This positions students as the low-cost alternative in a flooded market of RTL engineers, and it perpetuates the holding pattern the industry has been stuck in for over 30 years. We should be positioning students as pioneers in growth areas, not as followers.

Regardless of your view on which languages and design methodologies will carry this industry forward (and you know our view on that), it's the logic and microarchitectural concepts that students must learn first. TL-Verilog and Makerchip have been used successfully to teach fundamental concepts in less time.

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In the Microprocessor for You in Thirty Hours (MYTH) workshop, offered by VLSI System Design, students with no background in digital logic prove the industry wrong. We're able to get students interested in hardware at a younger age. Nicholas Sharkey and Niel Josiah are two extreme examples whose blog posts are responsible for about a third of the traffic at the RISC-V International website at the tail end of 2020:

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In the first two days of the workshop, students learn about the RISC-V ISA and tools. In the remaining three days, they learn digital logic and build their own pipelined RISC-V CPU cores. Many students have gotten their RISC-V cores on the official list hosted by RISC-V International.

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Using TL-Verilog and Makerchip in online training has renewed interest in digital design in India and globally.

Kunal Ghosh,

VLSI Training Expert and Founder of VLSI System Design

Professors are discovering how much more they can cover using TL-Verilog.

TL-Verilog represents an exciting new direction in HDL’s...

...it removes many of the stumbling blocks that conventional languages put in the way of new students learning to design using HDL’s.

Prof. Brent Nelson

ECE Dept., Brigham Young University

(Lesson Plan)

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Where does this impact come from?

TL-Verilog simplifies. With VHDL and Verilog, classes get bogged down by the details of the language. TL-Verilog eliminates from Verilog the need for:

  • blocking vs. non-blocking assignments

  • packed vs. unpacked datatypes

  • reg vs. wire vs. logic vs. bit

  • sensitivity lists

  • always blocks

  • generate blocks

These are a constant source of confusion for students (and professionals alike) and have nothing to do with digital logic. 

 

Language == concepts. By learning TL-Verilog, students learn a clear thought process for advanced logic design. The constructs of the language are the concepts to be taught:

  • combinational logic

  • sequential logic

  • pipelines

  • state

  • hierarchy

  • transactions

In addition to the language benefits, the Makerchip online IDE makes it easy to get started. In the time it took you to read this far, your students could be coding and simulating their first combinational logic. Visual Debug features in Makerchip enhance the learning experience, enabling students to see the operation of their circuits.

RISC-V CPU Visualization in Makerchip for MYTH Workshop

In this anonymous survey after a first lecture on TL-Verilog, one student commented: “I would give my left nut to use this instead of VHDL.”

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Steve Hoover presents ideas for professors faced with the challenge of converting to remote learning. He demonstrates the value of Makerchip for digital logic classes and the use of cloud FPGAs for virtual FPGA lab classes.

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FPGA Labs

Makerchip-app enables local TL-Verilog development for any FPGA (or ASIC) tool flow. For FPGA lab classes, Makerchip can be used as a virtual FPGA lab platform to extend the FPGA design experience beyond the physical lab.

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Makerchip as a Virtual FPGA Lab

Exported to a Physical FPGA

Even without access to physical FPGAs, we simplify the task of using FPGAs in the cloud using our open-source 1st CLaaS cloud FPGA framework.

 

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Not only does 1st CLaaS address the need for virtual labs, it also presents an opportunity to teach students emerging technology trends. The availability of FPGAs in the data center opens doors for exciting new computing models that will shape our future. Your students can experience that future first-hand.

 

More Information on Classroom Learning

Browse our training material for examples of how quickly students can learn.

We can help with the transition. It takes time; we know. Often, we can help with guest lectures and course materials (which evolve continually). We'll be happy to discuss your needs and share what we can.

Research

 

We believe strongly in the importance of collaborations between industry and academia. For example, we are proud of our work with Politecnico di Milano’s NECSTLab to pioneer the democratization of cloud FPGAs and the use of cloud FPGAs to accelerate web and cloud applications through the development of 1st CLaaS.

So how can we work together? Well, for starters, anywhere you are currently using Verilog/SystemVerilog, it's a no-brainer to speed up your research using TL-Verilog. But let's take a broader view. Transaction-level design is a new paradigm offering a wealth of opportunities for new innovation, so now is the ideal time to make your mark on the industry.

Here are just a few research topics of particular interest to us.

  • TL-Verilog component libraries--the Standard Template Library of TL-Verilog

  • Future transaction-level language capabilities

  • Hardware acceleration of web and cloud applications

  • Flexible, adaptable, configurable open-source design IP

  • RISC-V customization/extension using WARP-V

We maintain an active list of opportunities.

How does our technology relate to your research? We'd love to explore that question together.