Branch: : Aeronautical Engineering
An HDL is analogous to a software programming language, but with major differences. Many programming languages are inherently procedural (single-threaded), with limited syntactical and semantic support to handle concurrency. HDLs, on the other hand, resemble concurrent programming languages in their ability to model multiple parallel processes (such as flip-flops, adders, etc.) that automatically execute independently of one another. Any change to the process's input automatically triggers an update in the simulator's process stack. Both programming languages and HDLs are processed by a compiler (usually called a synthesizer in the HDL case), but with different goals. For HDLs, 'compiler' refers to synthesis, a process of transforming the HDL code listing into a physically realizable gate net list. The net list output can take any of many forms: a "simulation" net list with gate-delay information, a "hand-off" net list for post-synthesis place and route, or a generic industry-standard EDIF format (for subsequent conversion to a JEDEC-format file).