Accessible, FPGA Resource-Optimized Simulation of Multiclock Systems in FireSim

David BiancolinAlbert MagyarSagar KarandikarAlon Amid, Borivoje NikolicJonathan BachrachKrste Asanovic

Given the complexity of modern systems-on-chip, hardware-assisted verification is an integral part of the chip-design process. However, chip designers often need to choose between richly featured but expensive emulation platforms or faster, cheaper, but less debuggable FPGA prototyping solutions. FireSim, an open-source, FPGA-accelerated hardware emulation platform hosted in the public cloud, attempts to accessibly offer the best of both worlds. This article highlights two new FireSim capabilities that help realize this goal: multicycle resource optimizations, which can enable an eight-fold increase emulated core count, and FPGA-agnostic support for multiclock systems. These supplement existing FireSim features which provide a foundation for productive emulation, including a cloud manager to automatically scale out experiments and a rich debug toolkit.