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THE ICARUS VERILOG COMPILATION SYSTEM May 9, 1999 1.0 What is ICARUS Verilog(IVL)? Icarus Verilog is intended to compile ALL of the Verilog HDL as described in the IEEE-1364 standard. Of course, it's not quite there yet. It does currently handle a mix of structural and behavioral constructs. IVL is not aimed at being a simulator in the traditional sense, but a compiler that generates code employed by back-end tools. These back- end tools currently include a simulator written in C++ called VVM and an XNF (Xilinx Netlist Format) generator. See "vvm.txt" and "xnf.txt" for further details on the back-end processors. 2.0 How IVL Works This tool includes a parser which reads in Verilog (plus extensions) and generates an internal netlist. The netlist is passed to various processing steps that transform the design to more optimal/practical forms, then passed to a code generator for final output. The processing steps and the code generator are selected by command line switches. 2.1 Parse The verilog compiler starts by parsing the verilog source file. The output of the parse in a list of Module objects in PFORM. The pform (see pform.h) is mostly a direct reflection of the compilation unit. There may be dangling references, and it is not yet clear which module is the root. One can see a human readable version of the final PFORM by using the ``-P <path>'' flag to the compiler. This will cause ivl to dump the PFORM into the file named <path>. 2.2 Elaboration This phase takes the pform and generates a netlist. The driver selects (by user request or lucky guess) the root module to elaborate, resolves references and expands the instantiations to form the design netlist. The elaborate() function performs the elaboration. One can see a human readable version of the final, elaborated and optimized netlist by using the ``-N <path>'' flag to the compiler. If elaboration succeeds, the final netlist (i.e. after optimizations but before code generation) will be dumped into the file named <path>. 2.3 Optimization This is actually a collection of processing steps that perform optimizations that do not depend on the target technology. Examples of some useful transformations would be, - eliminate null effect circuitry, - combinational reduction - Constant propagation The actual functions performed are specified on the command line by the -F flags (See below). 2.4 Code Generation This step takes the design netlist and uses it to drive the code generator. (See target.h.) This may require transforming the design to suit the technology. The emit() method of the Design class performs this step. It runs through the design elements, calling target functions as need arises to generate actual output. The target code generator to used is given by the -t flag on the command line. 3.0 Building/Installing IVL Unpack the tar-ball and cd into the verilog-######### directory. ./configure make cd vvm make Now install the files in an appropriate place. (The makefiles by default install in /usr/local unless you specify a different prefix with the --prefix=<path> flag to the configure command.) Do this as root. make install cd vvm make install 4.0 Running IVL The ivl command is the compiler driver, that invokes the parser, optimization functions and the code generator. Usage: ivl <options>... file ivl -h -F <name> Use this flag to request an optimization function be applied to the netlist before it is sent to the target output stage. Any number of -F options may be given, to specify a variety of processing steps. The steps will be applied in order, with the output of one uses as the input to the next. The function is specified by name. Use the "ivl -h" command to get a list of configured function names. -f <assign> Use this flag to set a parameter value. The format of the assignment is <key>=<value> where key is any string up to the first '=', and <value> is the rest of the option. If the '=' is omitted, then the key is assigned the empty string. The useful keys are defined by the functions and the target in use. These assignments are specifically useful for passing target specific information to the target back-end, or options/parameters to optimization functions, if any are defined. -N <file> Dump the elaborated netlist to the named file. The netlist is the folly elaborated netlist, after all the function modules are applied and right before the output generator is called. This is an aid for debugging the compiler, and the output generator in particular. -o <file> Normally, the generated result is sent to standard output. Use the -o flag to specify an output file for the generated result. -P <file> Write the PForm of the parsed input to the specified file. The pform is the compiler's understanding of the input after parsing and before elaboration. This is an aid for debugging the compiler. -s <module> Normally, ivl will elaborate the only module in the source file. If there are multiple modules, use this option to select the module to be used as the top-level module. -t <name> Select the output format for the compiled result. Use the "ivl -h" command to get a list of configured targets. ATTRIBUTES The parser accepts as an extension to Verilog the $attribute module item. The syntax of the $attribute item is: $attribute (<identifier>, <key>, <value>); The $attribute keyword looks like a system task invocation. The difference here is that the parameters are more restricted then those of a system task. The <identifier> must be an identifier. This will be the item to get an attribute. The <key> and <value> are strings, not expressions, that give the key and the value of the attribute to be attached to the identified object. Attributes are [<key> <value>] pairs and are used to communicate with the various processing steps. See the documentation for the processing step for a list of the pertinent attributes. Attributes can also be applied to gate types. When this is done, the attribute is given to every instantiation of the primitive. The syntax for the attribute statement is the same, except that the <identifier> names a primitive earlier in the compilation unit and the statement is placed in global scope, instead of within a module. The semicolon is not part of a type attribute. Currently, type attributes are only supported for UDP types. Note that attributes are also occasionally used for communication between processing steps. Processing steps that are aware of others may place attributes on netlist objects to communicate information to later steps. 4.1 EXAMPLES Example: Compiling "hello.vl" ------------------------ hello.vl ---------------------------- module main(); initial begin $display("Hi there"); $finish ; end endmodule -------------------------------------------------------------- Insure that "ivl" is on your search path, and the library libvvm.a is available. For csh - setenv PATH /usr/local/bin:$PATH setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /usr/local/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH ivl -t vvm -o hello.cc hello.vl g++ hello.cc -o hello -lvvm (The above presumes that /usr/local/include and /usr/local/lib are part of the compiler search path, which is usually the case for egcs.) To run the program ./hello 5.0 Unsupported Constructs IVL is in development - as such it still only supports a (growing) subset of verilog. Below is a description of some of the currently unsupported verilog features. - Lvalue bit ranges - Example: regvalue [7:3] = 5'b0; - Complex delay expressions, specifically min,typ,max expressions. - Tasks/functions - Other things I forgot to mention.