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In the previous article, an overview of the major data types were given. In this session, we'll look at 4-state and 2-state variables and two new data types called logic and bit.

4-state data types

Types that can have unknown (X) and high-impedance (Z) value in addition to zero (0) and one (1) are called 4-state types. Note that reg can only be driven in procedural blocks like always and initial while wire data types can only be driven in assign statements. SystemVerilog introduces a new 4-state data type called logic that can be driven in both procedural blocks and continuous assign statements. But, a signal with more than one driver needs to be declared a net-type such as wire so that SystemVerilog can resolve the final value.


module tb;
  logic [3:0]  my_data;     // Declare a 4-bit logic type variable
  logic        en;       // Declare a 1-bit logic type variable
  initial begin
      $display ("my_data=0x%0h en=%0b", my_data, en);      // Default value of logic type is X
    my_data = 4'hB;                   // logic datatype can be driven in initial/always blocks
        $display ("my_data=0x%0h en=%0b", my_data, en);    
        $display ("my_data=0x%0h en=%0b", my_data, en);
    assign en = my_data[0];                 // logic datatype can also be driven via assign statements
Simulation Log
ncsim> run
my_data=0xx en=x
my_data=0xb en=x
my_data=0xb en=1
ncsim: *W,RNQUIE: Simulation is complete.

Click to try this example in a simulator!   

2-state data types

In a typical verification testbench, there are many cases where we don't really need all the four values (0, 1, x, z) like for example when modeling a network packet with a header that specifies the length of the packet.Length is usually a number, but not X and Z. SystemVerilog adds many new 2-state data types that can only store and have a value of either 0 or 1. This will aid in faster simulation, take less memory and are preferred in some design styles.

When a 4-state value is converted to a 2-state value, any unknown or high-impedance bits shall be converted to zeros.

The most important 2-state data type is bit which is used most often in testbenches. A variable of type bit can be either 0 or 1 which represents a single bit. A range from MSB to LSB should be provided to make it represent and store multiple bits


module tb;
  bit       var_a;       // Declare a 1 bit variable of type "bit"
  bit [3:0] var_b;       // Declare a 4 bit variable of type "bit"
  logic [3:0] x_val;     // Declare a 4 bit variable of type "logic"
  initial begin
    // Initial value of "bit" data type is 0
    $display ("Initial value var_a=%0b var_b=0x%0h", var_a, var_b);
    // Assign new values and display the variable to see that it gets the new values
    var_a = 1;
    var_b = 4'hF;
    $display ("New values    var_a=%0b var_b=0x%0h", var_a, var_b);
    // If a "bit" type variable is assigned with a value greater than it can hold
    // the left most bits are truncated. In this case, var_b can hold only 4 bits
    // and hence 'h481 gets truncated leaving var_b with only 'ha;
    var_b = 16'h481a;
    $display ("Truncated value: var_b=0x%0h", var_b);
    // If a logic type or any 4-state variable assigns its value to a "bit" type 
    // variable, then X and Z get converted to zero
    var_b = 4'b01zx;
    $display ("var_b = %b", var_b);
Simulation Log
ncsim> run
Initial value var_a=0 var_b=0x0
New values    var_a=1 var_b=0xf
Truncated value: var_b=0xa
var_b = 0100
ncsim: *W,RNQUIE: Simulation is complete.

Click to try this example in a simulator!   

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