Hardware Description Language
Hardware description languages
, such as VHDL
have had a very large impact on the IC
design process since their inception in the early 1980's.
As well as modelling the behaviour of logic circuits at a more abstract level, the HDL description can be used by logic synthesis tools to infer the logic which the HDL is describing. Using an HDL, the logic designer is able to describe complex circuit functionality at a 'higher level of abstraction' than a schematic diagram, without focussing on the implementation in terms of logic gates.
The use of HDLs' has vastly improved the productivity of the IC design process and, together with the continuing enhancement of semiconductor process technology, is one of the main enablers behind the concept of the "System on Chip" IC.