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README.md

QtMips

OpenHub build status

MIPS CPU simulator for education purposes.

Documentation

The project has started as diploma theses work of Karel Kočí. The complete text of the thesis Graphical CPU Simulator with Cache Visualization is available from the online archive of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The document provides analysis of available alternative simulators, overview of the project architecture and basic usage information.

The used MIPS CPU building block diagram, and a pipeline model matches lecture slides prepared by Michal Štepanovský for the subject Computer Architectures. The course is based on the book Computer Organization and Design, The HW/SW Interface written by professors Patterson and Henessy.

Additional documentation can be found in subdirectory docs of the project.

Build Dependencies

  • Qt 5
  • elfutils (libelf works too but there can be some problems)

General Compilation

To compile whole project just run these commands:

qmake /path/to/qtmips
make

Where /path/to/qtmips is path to this project root.

(Be sure to use qt5 qmake.)

Compilation for Local Execution

Because simulator it self and operating system stub are implemented as libraries you need to have that libraries in path where loader can found them. Binary looks for library at system library paths (on Windows in actual directory as well) and on compiled in RPATH which is ../lib (i.e., install into bin and lib directory is assumed):

qmake /path/to/qtmips "QMAKE_RPATHDIR += ../qtmips_machine ../qtmips_osemu"
make

Or compile the application with static libraries

mkdir QtMips-build
cd QtMips-build
qmake "CONFIG+=static" "CONFIG+=staticlib" -recursive ../QtMips/qtmips.pro

Alternatively, you can setup

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/path_to_QtMips/qtmips_machine /path_to_QtMips/qtmips_osemu

Building from source on macOS

Install the latest version of Xcode from the App Store. Then open a terminal and execute xcode-select --install to install Command Line Tools. Then open Xcode, accept the license agreement and wait for it to install any additional components. After you finally see the "Welcome to Xcode" screen, from the top bar choose Xcode -> Preferences -> Locations -> Command Line Tools and select an SDK version.

Install Homebrew and the following dependencies:

brew install qt libelf

Add Qt to the PATH. If you use Bash, you can do it like this:

echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/qt/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile

Verify Qt is available in the PATH by running:

qmake --version

Finally, you can build the QtMips:

./build-macos.sh

After successful completion, you should see build/qtmips-macos.zip which contains two files: qtmips_qui.app and qtmips_cli.

You can unzip it and then copy qtmips_qui.app wherever you want. Double-click to start it.

Download Binary Packages

Accepted Binary Formats

The simulator accepts ELF statically linked executables compiled for 32-bit big-endian MISP target.

Optimal is use of plain mips-elf GCC toolchain.

For more refer to the supported executable formats documentation in the docs projects subdirectory.

Integrated Assembler

Basic integrated assembler is included in the simulator. It recognizes basic MIPS instructions and la and li pseudo instructions. Small subset of GNU assembler directives is recognized as well. Next directives are recognized: .word, .orig, .set/.equ, .ascii and .asciz. Some other directives are simply ignored: .data, .text, .globl, .end and .ent. This allows to write code which can be compiled by both - integrated and full-featured assembler. Addresses are assigned to labels/symbols which are stored in symbol table. Addition, substraction, multiplication, divide and bitwise and and or are recognized.

Support to call external make utility

The action "Build executable by external make" call "make" program. If the action is invoked and some of source editors selected in main windows tabs then the "make" is started in the corresponding directory. Else directory of last selected editor is chosen. If no editor is open then directory of last loaded ELF executable are used as "make" start path. If even that is not an option then default directory when the emulator has been started is used.

Tests

There are two types of tests in QtMips. One type are unit tests for simulator it self and second one are integration tests with command line client and real compiled elf binaries. All these tests can be executed using script tests/run-all.sh or one by one by running respective test.sh scripts.

Source files for unit tests can be found in path qtmips_machine/tests and integration tests are located in tests directory.

Peripherals

The simulator implements emulation of two peripherals for now. Base addresses are selected such way that they are accessible by 16 immediate offset which uses register 0 (zero) as base.

The first is simple serial port (UART). It support transmission (Tx) and receiption (Rx). Receiver status register (SERP_RX_ST_REG) implements two bits. Read-only bit 0 (SERP_RX_ST_REG_READY) is set to one if there is unread character available in the receiver data register (SERP_RX_DATA_REG). The bit 1 (SERP_RX_ST_REG_IE) can be written to 1 to enable interrupt request when unread character is available. The transmitter status register (SERP_TX_ST_REG) bit 0 (SERP_TX_ST_REG_READY) signals by value 1 that UART is ready and can accept next character to be sent. The bit 1 (SERP_TX_ST_REG_IE) enables generation of interrupt. The register SERP_TX_DATA_REG is actual Tx buffer. The LSB byte of written word is transmitted to the terminal window. Definition of peripheral base address and registers offsets (_o) and individual fields masks (_m) follows

#define SERIAL_PORT_BASE   0xffffc000

#define SERP_RX_ST_REG_o           0x00
#define SERP_RX_ST_REG_READY_m      0x1
#define SERP_RX_ST_REG_IE_m         0x2

#define SERP_RX_DATA_REG_o         0x04

#define SERP_TX_ST_REG_o           0x08
#define SERP_TX_ST_REG_READY_m      0x1
#define SERP_TX_ST_REG_IE_m         0x2

#define SERP_TX_DATA_REG_o         0x0c

The UART registers region is mirrored on the address 0xffff0000 to enable use of programs initially writtent for SPIM or MARS emulators.

The another peripheral allows to set three byte values concatenated to single word (read-only KNOBS_8BIT register) from user panel set by knobs and display one word in hexadecimal, decimal and binary format (LED_LINE register). There are two other words writable which control color of RGB LED 1 and 2 (registers LED_RGB1 and LED_RGB2).

#define SPILED_REG_BASE    0xffffc100

#define SPILED_REG_LED_LINE_o           0x004
#define SPILED_REG_LED_RGB1_o           0x010
#define SPILED_REG_LED_RGB2_o           0x014
#define SPILED_REG_LED_KBDWR_DIRECT_o   0x018

#define SPILED_REG_KBDRD_KNOBS_DIRECT_o 0x020
#define SPILED_REG_KNOBS_8BIT_o         0x024

The simple 16-bit per pixel (RGB565) framebuffer and LCD display are implemented. The framebuffer is mapped into range starting at LCD_FB_START address. The display size is 480 x 320 pixel. Pixel format RGB565 expect red component in bits 11 .. 15, green component in bits 5 .. 10 and blue component in bits 0 .. 4.

#define LCD_FB_START       0xffe00000
#define LCD_FB_END         0xffe4afff

Limitation: actual concept of memory view updates and access doesnot allows to reliably read peripheral registers and I/O memory content. It is possible to write into framebuffer memory when cached (from CPU perspective) access to memory is selected.

Interrupts and Coprocessor 0 Support

List of interrupt sources:

Irq number Cause/Status Bit Source
2 / HW0 10 Serial port ready to accept character to Tx
3 / HW1 11 There is received character ready to be read
7 / HW5 15 Counter reached value in Compare register

Following coprocessor 0 registers are recognized

Number Name Description
$4,2 UserLocal Used as TLS base by operating system usually
$8,0 BadVAddr Reports the address for the most recent address-related exception
$9,0 Count Processor cycle count
$11,0 Compare Timer interrupt control
$12,0 Status Processor status and control
$13,0 Cause Cause of last exception
$14,0 EPC Program counter at last exception
$15,1 EBase Exception vector base register
$16,0 Config Configuration registers

Hardware/special registers implemented:

Number Name Description
0 CPUNum CPU number, fixed to 0
1 SYNCI_Step Increment required for instruction cache synchronization
2 CC Cycle counter
3 CCRes Cycle counter resolution, fixed on 1
29 UserLocal Read only value of Coprocessor 0 $4,2 register

Sequence to enable serial port receive interrupt:

Decide location of interrupt service routine the first. The default address is 0x80000180. The base can be changed (EBase register) and then PC is set to address EBase + 0x180. This is in accordance with MIPS release 1 and 2 manuals.

Enable bit 10 (interrupt mask) in the Status register. Ensure that bit 1 (EXL) is zero and bit 0 (IE) is set to one.

Enable interrupt in the receiver status register (bit 1 of SERP_RX_ST_REG).

Write character to the terminal. It should be immediately consumed by the serial port receiver if interrupt is enabled in SERP_RX_ST_REG. CPU should report interrupt exception and when it propagates to the execution phase PC is set to the interrupt routine start address.

Some hints how to direct linker to place interrupt handler routine at appropriate address. Implement interrupt routine in new section

.section .irq_handler, "ax"

Use next linker option to place section start at right address

 -Wl,--section-start=.irq_handler=0x80000180

System Calls Support

The emulator includes support for a few Linux kernel systemcalls. The MIPS O32 ABI is used.

Register use on input use on output Note
$at ($1) (caller saved)
$v0 ($2) syscall number return value
$v1 ($3) 2nd fd only for pipe(2)
$a0 ... $a2 ($4 ... $6) syscall arguments returned unmodified
$a3 ($7) 4th syscall argument $a3 set to 0/1 for success/error
$t0 ... $t9 ($8 ... $15, $24, $25) (caller saved)
$s0 ... $s7 ($16 ... $23) (callee saved)
$k0, $k1 ($26, $27)
$gp ($28) (callee saved)
$sp ($29) (callee saved)
$fp or $s8 ($30) (callee saved)
$ra ($31) (callee saved)
$hi, $lo (caller saved)

The first four input arguments are passed in registers $a0 to $a3, if more arguments are required then fifth and following arguments are stored on the stack.

Supported syscalls:

void exit(int status) __NR_exit (4001)

Stop/end execution of the program. The argument is exit status code, zero means OK, other values informs about error.

ssize_t read(int fd, void *buf, size_t count) __NR_read (4003)

Read count bytes from open file descriptor fd. The emulator maps file descriptors 0, 1 and 2 to the internal terminal/console emulator. They can be used without open call. If there are no more characters to read from the console, newline is appended. At most the count bytes read are stored to the memory location specified by buf argument. Actual number of read bytes is returned.

ssize_t write(int fd, const void *buf, size_t count) __NR_write (4004)

Write count bytes from memory location buf to the open file descriptor fd. The same about console for file handles 0, 1 and 2 is valid as for read.

int close(int fd) __NR_close (4006)

Close file associated to descriptor fd and release descriptor.

int open(const char *pathname, int flags, mode_t mode) __NR_open (4005)

Open file and associate it with the first unused file descriptor number and return that number. If the option OS Emulation->Filesystem root is not empty then the file path pathname received from emulated environment is appended to the path specified by Filesystem root. The host filesystem is protected against attempt to traverse to random directory by use of .. path elements. If the root is not specified then all open files are targetted to the emulated terminal.

void * brk(void *addr) __NR_brk (4045)

Set end of the area used by standard heap after end of the program data/bss. The syscall is emulated by dummy implementation. Whole address space up to 0xffff0000 is backuped by automatically attached RAM.

int ftruncate(int fd, off_t length) __NR_truncate (4092)

Set length of the open file specified by fd to the new length. The length argument is 64-bit even on 32-bit system and for big-endian MIPS it is apssed as higher part and the lower part in the second and third argument.

ssize_t readv(int fd, const struct iovec *iov, int iovcnt) __NR_Linux (4145)

The variant of read system call where data to read are would be stored to locations specified by iovcnt pairs of base address, length pairs stored in memory at address pass in iov.

ssize_t writev(int fd, const struct iovec *iov, int iovcnt) __NR_Linux (4146)

The variant of write system call where data to write are defined by iovcnt pairs of base address, length pairs stored in memory at address pass in iov.

int set_thread_area(unsigned long addr) __NR_set_thread_area (4283)

Set TLS base into C0 user_local register accessible by rdhwr instruction..

Special instructions support

RDHWR - read hardware registers

Supported registers described in Interrupts and Coprocessor 0 Support section

SYNC - memory barrier between preceding and following reads/writes

It is implemented as NOP because memory access is processed in order and only in the memory stage.

SYNCI - synchronize/propagate modification to the instruction cache memory and pipeline

The function codes for different modes nor address/cache line which should be synchronized is recognized. Instruction is implemented as full instruction and data cache flush.

CACHE - cache maintenance operations

Function is not decoded, full flush of data and instruction caches is performed.

Limitations of the Implementation

  • Only very minimal support for privileged instruction is implemented for now. Only RDHWR, SYNCI, CACHE and some coprocessor 0 registers implemented. TLB and virtual memory and complete exception model are not implemented.
  • Coprocessors (so no floating point unit and only limited coprocessor 0)
  • Memory access stall (stalling execution because of cache miss would be pretty annoying for users so difference between cache and memory is just in collected statistics)
  • Only limited support for interrupts and exceptions. When syscall or break instruction is recognized, emulation stops. Single step proceed after instruction.

List of Actually Supported Instructions

ADD ADDI ADDIU ADDU AND ANDI BEQ BEQL BGEZ BGEZAL BGEZALL BGEZL BGTZ BGTZL BLEZ BLEZL BLTZ BLTZAL BLTZALL BLTZL BNE BNEL BREAK CACHE CLO CLZ DIV DIVU ERET EXT INS J JAL JALR JR LB LBU LH LHU LL LUI LW LWC1 LWD1 LWL LWR MADD MADDU MFC0 MFHI MFLO MFMC0 MOVN MOVZ MSUB MSUBU MTC0 MTHI MTLO MUL MULT MULTU NOR OR ORI PREF RDHWR ROTR ROTRV SB SC SDC1 SEB SEH SH SLL SLLV SLT SLTI SLTIU SLTU SRA SRAV SRL SRLV SUB SUBU SW SWC1 SWL SWR SYNC SYNCI SYSCALL TEQ TEQI TGE TGEI TGEIU TGEU TLT TLTI TLTIU TLTU TNE TNEI WSBH XOR XORI

Links to Resources and Similar Projects

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