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Re: [cf-user] HDCaml & Confluence
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Date: 2005-12-13 (14:33)
From: Tom Hawkins <tom@c...>
Subject: Re: [cf-user] HDCaml & Confluence
Hans Schmid wrote:
> Hi Tom,
> could you quickly explain what the main differences between Confluence and 
> HDCaml are? Is HDCaml now the preferred method?

Hi Hans,

The major difference is HDCaml built inside a general purpose 
programming language (OCaml).  First, this provides access to file IO 
and a collection of standard libraries to aid in hardware design. 
Second, OCaml's type system prevents quite a few bugs up front and makes 
it easier to create abstract datatypes related to hardware.  But the 
real advantage of embedding an HDL in an existing language is the 
generated circuit becomes just another datatype, thus opening all sorts 
of possibilities:

   - custom circuit optimizations
   - custom backend targets
   - custom circuit analysis tools

One example of circuit analysis is the recent ability to simulate an 
HDCaml circuit from within OCaml -- VCD waveforms included.  Now that 
the simulator is in place, one can start thinking about creating another 
embedded language; this time for constrained random simulation to mimic 
the features of Specman and Vera.

I'll put a detailed HDCaml/Confluence comparison here:


> I was looking on opencores.org for the Confluence code of FFT and FP-
> Multiplication but couldn't find either. Also checked the old launchbird 
> website but again zero. Is the Confluence code for the several projects on 
> opencores.org still somehow available?

Yes, the FFT and other example designs are available in Confluence 
0.9.3, which is still up on the website.


> Kind regards,
> Hans :-)
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