This paper presents a case study comparing the hardware description language „Constructing Hardware in a Scala Embedded Language“(Chisel) to VHDL. For a thorough comparison the Heston Model was implemented, a stochastic model used in financial mathematics to calculate option prices. Metrics like hardware utilization and maximum clock rate were extracted from both resulting designs and compared to each other. The results showed a 30% reduction in code size compared to VHDL, while the resulting circuits had about the same hardware utilization. Using Chisel however proofed to be difficult because of a few features that were not available for this case study.
Chisel (Constructing Hardware in a Scala embedded language) is a new programming language, which embedded in Scala, used for hardware synthesis. It aims to increase productivity when creating hardware by enabling designers to use features present in higher level programming languages to build complex hardware blocks. In this paper, the most advertised features of Chisel are investigated and compared to their VHDL counterparts, if present. Afterwards, the authors’ opinion if a switch to Chisel is worth considering is presented. Additionally, results from a related case study on Chisel are briefly summarized. The author concludes that, while Chisel has promising features, it is not yet ready for use in the industry.
Wireless sensor networks are the driving force behind many popular and interdisciplinary research areas, such as environmental monitoring, building automation, healthcare and assisted living applications. Requirements like compactness, high integration of sensors, flexibility, and power efficiency are often very different and cannot be fulfilled by state-of-the-art node platforms at once. In this paper, we present and analyze AmICA: a flexible, compact, easy-to-program, and low-power node platform. Developed from scratch and including a node, a basic communication protocol, and a debugging toolkit, it assists in an user-friendly rapid application development. The general purpose nature of AmICA was evaluated in two practical applications with diametric requirements. Our analysis shows that AmICA nodes are 67% smaller than BTnodes, have five times more sensors than Mica2Dot and consume 72% less energy than the state-of-the-art TelosB mote in sleep mode.