The process of designing an electronic system involves taking abstract ideas and successively replacing the abstractions with concrete details until you reach a representation that can be manufactured in silicon. Since the advent of the digital integrated circuit, the electronic design community has carefully defined and codified abstractions, beginning with switches and gates, to provide media in which designs are rendered. RTL is an example of an abstraction medium commonly used to create designs. There are many tools based on the RTL abstraction that make it a convenient way to initiate the design and verification process.
However, as designs get larger and more complex, it becomes increasingly convenient to represent them using abstractions higher than RTL. The transaction level is becoming popular for creating the first incarnation of a design that can be simulated and analyzed.
This chapter introduces the fundamental concepts of transaction-level modeling (TLM). Transaction-level models consist of multiple processes communicating with each other by sending transactions back and forth through channels. This chapter illustrates these concepts with some producer-consumer pairs communicating through transaction-level interfaces.
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