Electrical & Computer Engineering     |     Carnegie Mellon

Tuesday, April 9, 12:00-1:00 p.m. HH-1112

Rishiyur S. Nikhil
Sandburst Corporation

Bluespec™: a language to revolutionize ASIC design flow

Sandburst is a new fab-less semiconductor company currently building chips for 10Gb/s MAN and Data Center routers. A central component of our strategy is to exploit a new methodology for ASIC design that will reduce time to market for algorithmically complex chips. The methodology is centered on the Bluespec™ language, which is inspired by work at MIT (by James Hoe & Arvind) on using Term Rewriting Systems for hardware description and synthesis. Bluespec borrows its powerful type system and abstraction mechanisms from declarative programming languages (such as Haskell). In this talk I will outline how and why Bluespec improves ASIC design flow by giving examples of the language and its compilation, and describing how it enables hierarchical design of ASICs with millions of gates. (This is joint work with the Bluespec team at Sandburst.)

Rishiyur S. Nikhil has been at Sandburst Corporation since September 2000, where he directs a group developing and encouraging the use of Bluespec™, Sandburst's new language for ASIC design and verification. Previously, he spent 9 years at the Cambridge Research Laboratory (CRL) of Digital Equipment Corporation/Compaq, including a brief stint as Acting Director. Earlier, he was an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. His research covers functional programming, dataflow and multithreaded architectures, parallel processing and, most recently, high-level languages for ASIC systems design. He has numerous publications in research journals and conferences. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer and Information Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the ACM, IEEE, and IFIP Working Group 2.8 on Functional Programming.