Combinational circuits – Equivalence checking

Given a VLSI entity and its two description, establishing if both of them are equivalent is fundamental problem in VLSI verification. In this post, I am going to give describe an small part of this problem. Lets say someone has provided us with an behavioral description of an entity. For example lets say the given behavior of this entity is following.

a, b, c, and d are input to this entity and e is output.

Lets say if a = 1 and b =1 then c = c \otimes d and if a = 1 and b = 0 then e = c \bar{\otimes} d. Otherwise, I don’t give a damn!

Ok! Now I have to give a hardware description of this entity else no would care about it. I give the following VHDL description (I hate verilog!).

-- This is the entity

entity Cblock is

    port(a,b,c,d: in bit; e: out bit);

end entity Cblock;

-- this is the specification

architecture Behave of Cblock is

begin process(a,b,c,d)


     if(a = '1' and b = '1') then

e <= c xor d;

elsif (a = '1' and b = '0') then

e <= c xnor d;


end if;

end process;

end Behave;

Next task is to find an equivalent circuit description of this behavior. We can surely use some synthesizer but they are not smart enough. Sometimes they produce garbage (though this case is way too simple to make a synthesizer go mad.). We are going to build our own. We introduce one more condition, say a, c, and d can never be same at any time. So we can treat them as don’t care condition. Lets make the truth table of Cblock.

First table shows the truth table. Second shows truth table after don't cares and third shows the minimization process. Note that blue color is being overlapped by other one. We have three min terms here.

After minimization, Cblock can be written as e = b \bar{c}\bar{d} + abd + abc.  Notice that since a, c, d are not allowed to be same at any given time. We have  \bar{a}{b}\bar{c}\bar{d}, \bar{a}\bar{b}\bar{c}\bar{d}, abdc, {a}\bar{b}{c}{d} should not be taken into accout i.e. don’t care conditions.

Build the circuit

Lets our life more miserable. We say that we have only AND and NOT gates available. Can we realise the given function e. Yes we can, remember that AND and NOT together represents NAND which is universal gate and others gates can be realised using it.

Now we can construct the following circuit.

Circuit representing the function in Qucs.

This circuit can be simulated in any circuit simulator like ngspice. If you are using Qucs than you can use the following file. Since I can not attach this type of file, here is the code.

Verify both implementation

Now the final task to is to verify whether out implementation matches with the given behaviour. To verify, I must check my implementation for all the possible input combination and output must match the given bahviorial description. We use VHDL to describe our implementation and then we make a test-bench to verify it. Following is the code for testbench. All entities are given in a single file.

-- VHDL file for assignment 06.

-- Dilawar Singh


-- Modified from its original version.

-- GHDL is used to compile it.


entity And2 is

  port(a,b: in bit; c: out bit);

end entity And2;
architecture Behave of And2 is

  c &lt;= a and b;

end Behave;

-- Invertor

entity Inv is

  port(a: in bit; b: out bit);

end entity Inv;

architecture Behave of Inv is


  b &lt;= not a;

end Behave;

-- This is the entity

entity Cblock is

  port(a,b,c,d: in bit; e: out bit);

end entity Cblock;

-- this is the specification

architecture Behave of Cblock is




     if(a = '1' and b = '1') then

        e &lt;= c xor d;

     elsif (a = '1' and b = '0') then

        e <= c xnor d;


     end if;

  end process;

end Behave;

-- this is the implementation which you have to write.

-- you may assume that the dont care set is a=c=d

architecture Impl of Cblock is

	component And2 is port(a,b: in bit; c: out bit); end component;

	component Inv is port(a: in bit; b: out bit); end component;

	-- fill in your implementation

	-- declare signals for interconnecting your gates

  signal i1_out, i2_out, i3_out, i4_out, i5_out, i6_out, i7_out, i8_out : bit;

  signal a1_out, a2_out, a3_out, a4_out, a5_out, a6_out : bit;


  -- fill in your implementation

	-- instantiate your gates.

    i1 : Inv port map(a => c, b => i1_out);

    i2 : Inv port map(a => d, b => i2_out);

    i3 : Inv port map(a => c, b => i3_out);

    i4 : Inv port map(a => d, b => i4_out);

    i5 : Inv port map(a => a1_out, b => i5_out);

    i6 : Inv port map(a => b, b => i6_out);

    i7 : Inv port map(a => a4_out, b => i7_out);

    i8 : Inv port map(a => a5_out, b => i8_out);

    i9 : Inv port map(a => a6_out, b => e);

    a1 : And2 port map(i1_out, i2_out, a1_out);

    a2 : And2 port map(a, b, a2_out);

    a3 : And2 port map(i3_out, i4_out, a3_out);

    a4 : And2 port map(i5_out, a2_out, a4_out);

    a5 : And2 port map(i6_out, a3_out, a5_out);

    a6 : And2 port map(i7_out, i8_out, a6_out);

end Impl;

entity Testbench is
end entity Testbench;

-- testbench

architecture Compare of Testbench is

	signal a,b,c,d,eref,edut: bit;

	type bV2 is array(natural range <>) of bit_vector(3 downto 0);

	-- legal patterns.

	constant pattern: bV2(0 to 11) :=














component Cblock is port(a,b,c,d: in bit; e: out bit); end component;
for ref:Cblock  use entity work.Cblock(behave);
	for dut:Cblock  use entity work.Cblock(behave); -- use impl when ready


   ref: Cblock port map(a=>a,b=>b,c=>c,d=>d,e=>eref);

   -- change to implementation when you have one ready

   dut: Cblock port map(a=>a,b=>b,c=>c,d=>d,e=>edut);


	variable I : integer := 0;


	while I &lt; 12 loop

		a &lt;= pattern(I)(3); b &lt;= pattern(I)(2); c &lt;= pattern(I)(1); d  &lt;= pattern(I)(0);

		I := I+1;

		wait for 1 ns;

		assert(eref = edut) report "Mismatch between Reference and DUT" severity error;

	end loop;

	assert false report &quot;Test Over&quot; severity note;


   end process;

end Compare;


Now we have to run this testbench. There are few VHDL simulator available, one is ghdl. We are going to use this. Make sure you can ghdl installed. You can get it from here. Now we have to run following commands.

$ghdl -a filename.vhd

$ghdl -e testbench

$ghdl -r testbench --vcd=filename.vcd

Since my filename was dilawar.vhd I got following output.

dilawar.vhdl:118:8:@12ns:(assertion note):Test Over

Note that since we have exhausted all the possible combination of inputs. This is not possible in big circuits with a lot of inputs. Simulation is too slow to handle all the cases. In future, we’ll be in need of better formal verification tools. About that some other day.

Waveform of both of the implementation. Note that for given input combinations, output is same. Thats is what an engineer establishes for equivalence.


About Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.
This entry was posted in Electrical Network, Programming, VLSI and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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