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SystemVerilog basics

Jean-Michel Chabloz

How we study SystemVerilog


Huge language:
last LRM has 1315 pages Not possible to cover everything, we cover maybe 5% of the constructs You can succeed in the course using only the subset of the language that is treated in these slides If you want you are free to use other constructs, research them by yourself

SystemVerilog Hello World


module M();

initial $display(Hello world);


endmodule

SystemVerilog simple program


module M(); logic a,b; logic [7:0] c; assign b = ~a; initial begin a <= 0; #20ns; repeat(40) #5ns a <= ~a; #20ns $display(c); $finish(); end initial c <= 0; always @(posedge a) c <= c + 1; endmodule

SystemVerilog syntax
Case sensitive C-style comments: // or /*comment*/ Code blocks delimited by begin end. If a single-line, can be omitted

Modules
Lets start to consider systems without hierarchy (no submodules) A module contains objects declarations and concurrent processes that operate in parallel.
Initial blocks Always blocks Continuous assignments (instantiations of submodules)

SystemVerilog basic data types


Data types:
logic 4 valued data type:
0, 1, X, Z initialized to X can also be called reg // deprecated verilog legacy name

bit 2 valued data type:


0, 1 initialized to 0

Defining a data type:


bit a; logic b; bit c, d;

Packed arrays of logic and bits


bit [5:0] a; logic [2:0] b; logic [0:2047] [7:0] c; //array of 2048 bytes integer: equivalent to logic [31:0] int, byte: equivalents to bit [31:0] and bit [7:0] arrays of bits and logics default to unsigned, can be overriden with the keyword signed
ex: bit signed [7:0] a;

Literals
Decimal literal:
a <= 54; // automatically extended to the length of a with 0 padding a <= d54; a <= 12d54; // specifies that a is 12-bits wide

Unspecified length:
1, 0, x, z // fills with all 1s, 0s, xs, zs

binary literal
12b1000_1100_1110 // underscores can be put anywhere except the beginning of a literal b11011 // automatically resized with zeroes if fed to something bigger

hexadecimal literal:
12hc; // 000000001100 hcd: // .0000011001101

Packed array access


Single element access:
bit [7:0] a
a[5] <= a[6];

bit [9:0][7:0] b:
b[5] <= 15;

Packed arrays can be sliced:


bit [7:0] a;
a[3:2] <= 2b10; a[3:0] <= a[7:4];

bit [2047:0][7:0] a; bit [1:0][7:0] b;


a[2047:2046] <= b

packed structures
equivalent to a packed array subdivided into named fields:
example: 48 bit packed array
struct packed { int a; bit [7:0] c; bit [7:0] d; } pack1;

can be accessed as pack1[15:0] <= b0; can access pack1[9:4] <= 15; can be accessed as pack1.d <= b0; the whole struct can be resetted with pack1 <= b0;

unpacked struct (no packed keyword) allow only acces through the named fields (pack1.d <=b0);

Other data types


Enumerated data type:
enum bit [1:0] {idle, writing, reading} state If skipping the type an int type is assumed Can be typedeffed (like all other data types):
typedef enum {red, green, blue, yellow, white, black} Colors; Colors [2:0] setOfColors; // array of 3 elements of type colors

Types in SV
SystemVerilog is a weakly-typed language
advantages: simpler and shorter code disadvantages: easy to do mistakes

Many assignment-compatible types


a bit and a logic are assignment-compatible, we can assign one to the other a longer array can be assigned to a shorter one or viceversa (truncation or extension will happen automatically) arrays can be indexed by logic arrays, bit arrays a packed struct has the same properties as an array
struct packed {bit[3:0] a, b;} can be assigned a bit array, a logic array, etc.

ifs, whiles, etc. can take as condition bits, logic, arrays, etc.
non-zero values count as TRUE, all-zero values count as false if a is a bit or logic, then we can write if (a==1) or if (a), they do the same thing

Processes
Modules contain processes (initial, always) code inside processes is called procedural code
Initial: executed only once, at the beginning of the simulation
initial begin #10ns; a <= 1b1; #20ns; a <= 1b0; end

Processes
Always - no sensitivity list: triggers as soon as it finishes executing
always begin #10ns; a <= 1b1; #20ns; a <= 1b0; end

Processes
Always - with sensitivity list: triggers when it has finished executing and one of the events in the sensitivity list happens
always @(posedge b, negedge c) begin #10ns; posedge: positive edge a <= 1b1; #20ns; negedge: negative edge a <= 1b0; signal name: any toggle end

Always block, combinational process


The sensitivity list must contain all elements in the right-hand side
always @(a,b) begin c <= a+b; end

SystemVerilog allows using always_comb instead


the sensitivity list is automatically compiled
always_comb begin c <= a+b; end

Always block, flip-flop


D flip-flop with async reset:
always @(posedge clk, negedge rst) begin if (rst==0) q <= 0; else // posedge clk, rst==1 q <= d; end

Possible to specify always_ff to declare intent


we declare to the compiler we want to do a FF (in the sense of edge-triggered logic, can also be an FSM), if it is not an FF we get an error
always_ff @(posedge clk, negedge rst) begin if (rst==0) q <= 0; else // posedge clk, rst==1 q <= d; end

Procedural code
if (a==1) begin //code end if (a) begin // 1 counts as true //code end

while (a==1) begin //code end

repeat (3) begin //code end

forever begin // loops forever //code end

for (i=0; i<3; i++) begin // loops three times //code end

if trees
if (condition) begin end else begin end

if trees
if (condition1) begin end else if (condition2) begin end else if (condition3) begin end else begin end

No elsif construct, but this is equivalent

Bitwise logic operators


Bitwise logic operators return a number of bits equal to the length of the inputs:
&: and | : or ^ : xor ~ : not

Negate one bit/logic array:


a <= ~a

Do a bit-wise OR between two bit/logic arrays:


c <= a | b

logic operators
logic operators return one bit only, treat as one everything that is non-zero:
&&: and | |: or ! : not

for one-bit elements if (!a) is equal to if (~a) for a 4-bit elements, if a=1100
if(!a) will not execute (!a returns 0) if(~a) will execute (~a returns 0011 which is not allzeros)

comparisons
equality: == diseguality: != greather than: > lower than: < greater or equal than: >= lower or equal than: <=

arithmetic
+ and can be used with logic arrays, bit arrays, automatically wrap around:
up counter:
. 11101 11110 11111 00000 00001 00010 .

Timing Control in Processes


#10ns: waits for 10 ns #10: wait for 10 time units time unit specified during elaboration or with a `timescale directive in the code #(a): wait for a number of time units equal to the value of variable a #(a*1ps): wait for a number of picoseconds equal to the value of a @(posedge a): waits for the positive edge of a @(b): wait until b toggles wait(expr): waits until expr is true wait(b): wait until b is one Timing checks can be bundled with the next instr: #10ns a<=!a

fork join
Spawn concurrent processes from a single process: A is printed at 30ns; B at 20ns; join waits until both subprocesses have finished, the last display takes place at 40ns
initial begin #10ns; fork begin #20ns; $display( A\n" ); end begin #10ns; $display( B\n" ); #20ns; end join $display(both finished); end

Procedural assignments
Non-blocking assignment
<= takes place after a delta delay

Blocking assignment
= takes place immediately

The two can be mixed but probably not a good idea

Procedural assignments
blocking assignments correspond to the VHDL variable assignment := non-blocking assignments correspond to the VHDL signals assignment <= BUT:
In VHDL := is reserved for variables, <= for signals In Verilog, both can be used for variables Possible to mix them - but probably not a good idea A better idea is to use some objects as VHDL variables and only assign them with =, others as VHDL signals and only assign them with <=

Procedural assignments
always @(posedge clk) begin a <= b; b <= a; end always @(posedge clk) begin a = b; b = a; end

Procedural assignments
initial begin a = 1; $display(a); end
initial begin a <= 1; $display(a); end initial begin a <= 1; #10ns; $display(a); end

Default assignments
default values to avoid latches and to avoid writing long if else trees works like in VHDL (the last write is kept) always_comb a <= 0; // default value of a if (c) if (b==100) a <= 1; end

Console/control commands
introduced with the $ keyword
$display used to display information to the console ex:
$display(hello); // displays hello $display(a); // displays the value of a, depending on its data type

$stop(), $finish(): stop (break) and finish (terminate) the simulation

Direct generation of random numbers


$urandom returns a 32-bit random unsigned number every time it is called Can be automatically assigned to shorter values, automatic clipping will take place:
bit a; a <= $urandom;

To generate a random number between 0 and 59 we can use: $urandom%60 (modulus) Note: if not seeded, every time the testbench is run we get the same values
this behavior is required for being able to repeat tests

Direct generation of random numbers


$urandom_range(10,0) returns a random number between 10 and 0 Note: if not seeded, every time the testbench is run we get the same values
this behavior is required for being able to repeat tests

Event-driven simulation
The simulator executes in a random order any of the operations scheduled for a given timestep. It continues until the event queue for the timestep is empty, then advances time to the next non-empty timestamp This might create race conditions:
What happens is not defined by the rules of SystemVerilog No error is signaled The behavior of the system might be simulatordependent or even change from run to run

Race condition
initial begin #10ns; a = 1; end initial begin #10 ns; a = 0; end initial begin #20 ns; $display(a); end

Race condition
initial begin #10ns; a <= 1; end initial begin #10 ns; a <= 0; end initial begin #20 ns; $display(a); end

Race condition
initial begin #10ns; a <= 1; end initial begin #10 ns; a = 0; end initial begin #20 ns; $display(a); end

Race condition
initial begin #10ns; a = 1; a = 0; end

initial begin #20 ns; $display(a); end

Race conditions
Happen when two different processes try to write the same signal during the same time step Ways to avoid:
dont write the same signal in different processes, unless you really know what you do (you know that the two processes will never write the signal in the same time step)

Continuous assignments
continuously performs an assignment outside procedural code ex: assign a = b+c; Note: module input/output ports count as continuous assignments can be done on variables or nets nets can be driven by multiple continuous assignments, variables no

Variables vs Nets
Variables:
Are defined as: var type name Example: var logic a (logic is default, can be omitted) The keyword var is the default, it can be omitted So when we define something like
logic a; bit [7:0] b;

we are actually defining variables

Variables vs Nets
Variables can be assigned:
in a procedural assignment (blocking or nonblocking assignment inside an initial or always process) By a single continuous assignment

How variables work


initial #10ns a <= 1; initial #20ns a <= 0;

a variable keeps the newest value that is written to it VARIABLES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH VHDL VARIABLES

Variables vs Nets
Nets:
Different types: wire, wand, wor, etc. We consider only wire Are defined as: wire type name Examples: wire logic a, wire logic [2:0] c logic is the default and can be omitted A wire cannot be a 2-valued data type

A net can be assigned only by one or more continuous assignments, cannot be assigned into procedural code

Variables vs Nets
So there is only one thing in SV that nets can do and that variables cannot: be driven by multiple continuous assignments Nets should be used when modeling tri-state buffers and buses The value is determined by a resolution function

X Z

0
1

0
X

X X
1 X

0
1

X X X X X

X Z

Objects scope
objects declared inside modules/programs:
local to that module/program

objects declared inside blocks (ifs, loops, etc.) between a begin and an end:
local to that block of code

Subroutines
Functions: return a value, cannot consume time Tasks: no return, can consume time

Functions
input/ouput/inout ports (inouts are read at the beginning and written at the end) the keyword input is the default, no need to specify it. cannot consume time a function can return void (no return value) It is allowed to have non-blocking assignments, writes to clocking drivers and other constructs that schedule assignments for the future but dont delay the function execution
function logic myfunc3(input int a, output int b); b = a + 1; return (a==1000); endfunction

Tasks
task light (output color, input [31:0] tics); repeat (tics) @ (posedge clock); color = off; // turn light off. endtask: light

Tasks can consume time, they do not return values

Packages
type definitions, functions, etc. can be defined in packages
package ComplexPkg; typedef struct { shortreal i, r; } Complex; function Complex add(Complex a, add.r = a.r + b.r; add.i = a.i + b.i; endfunction function Complex mul(Complex a, mul.r = (a.r * b.r) - (a.i * mul.i = (a.r * b.i) + (a.i * endfunction endpackage

b);

b); b.i); b.r);

Packages
Stuff that is in package can be called as:
c <= PackageName::FunctionName(a,b)

or the package can be imported, then we can just write:


c <= FunctionName(a,b);

Importing a package is done through:


import PackageName::*;

Unpacked arrays
bit a [5:0]; Arrays can have multiple unpacked dimensions or can even mix packed and unpacked dimensions:
logic [7:0] c [0:2047]; // array of 2048 bytes

Unpacked dimensions cannot be sliced, only single elements can be accessed They do not reside in memory in contiguous locations they can be bigger than a packed array because of this reason

dynamic arrays
arrays with an unpacked dimension that is not specified in the code:
logic [7:0] b [];

Can only be used after having been initialized with the keyword new
b = new[100];

Can be resized with: b = new[200](b); After having been initialized it can be used like any other array with unpacked dimension

associative arrays
associative array of bytes:
declared as logic [7:0] a [*];

Acts exactly as a vector of 2^32 bytes:


a[4102345432] <= 8b10000110 is legal

Memory space is allocated only when used Slow to access the elements in terms of simulation time If we would try to write to all locations we would crash everything or generate an error Ideal to model big memories used only sparsely

queues
logic [7:0] q[$];
Supports all operations that can be done on unpacked arrays q.push_front(a); // pushes element to the front q.push_back(a); // pushes element to the back b=q.pop_back(); // pops element from back b=q.pop_front(); // pops element from front q.insert(3,a) // inserts element at position 3 q.delete(3) // deletes the third element q.delete() // delete all the queue q.size() // returns size of queue

queues
Can also be accessed using slicing and $:
q = { q, 6 }; // q.push_back(6) q = { e, q }; // q.push_front(e) q = q[1:$]; // q.pop_front() or q.delete(0) q = q[0:$-1]; // q.pop_back() or q.delete(q.size-1) q = { q[0:pos-1], e, q[pos:$] }; // q.insert(pos, e) q = { q[0:pos], e, q[pos+1:$] }; // q.insert(pos+1, e) q = {}; // q.delete()

Structure
Hierarchy is encapsulated and hidden in modules
module dut ( output bit c, input bit [7:0] a, input bit [7:0] b); // module code (processes, continuos assignments, instantiations of submodules) endmodule

There exists legacy verilog port declaration methods

Structure
Verilog legacy port declarations
module test(a,b,c); input logic [7:0] a; input b; //unspecified type: logic output bit [7:0] c; endmodule

Structure
Module declaration with ports
module simple_fifo ( input bit clk, input bit rst, input bit [7:0] a, output bit [7:0] b); // module code (processes, continuous assignments, instantiations of submodules) endmodule

Structure
Module instantiation in a top-level testbench
module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, reset; bit [7:0] av, bv; simple_fifo dut(.clk(clk), // module instantiation .rst(reset), .b(bv), .a(av)); always #5ns clk <= !clk; initial #30ns reset <= 1; initial begin forever #10ns av <= $random(); end endmodule

Module instantiation
Module instantiation in a top-level testbench Ports can be named out of order
module tb (); bit clk, reset; bit [7:0] av, bv; simple_fifo dut(.clk(clk), // module instantiation .rst(reset), .a(av), .b(bv)); always #5ns clk <= !clk; initial #30ns reset <= 1; initial begin forever #10ns av <= $random(); end endmodule

Module Instantiation
If signals have the same names in the including and the included modules we can use the syntax (.*) for port connection.
module tb (); bit clk, rst; bit [7:0] a, b; simple_fifo dut(.*); // a->a; b->b; clk->clk; rst-> rst always #5ns clk <= !clk; initial #30ns rst <= 1; initial begin forever #10ns a <= $random(); end endmodule

Module Instantiation
positional connection, each signal is connected to the port in the same position easy to make errors
module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, reset; bit [7:0] av, bv; simple_fifo dut(clk,reset,av,bv); always #5ns clk <= !clk; initial #30ns rst <= 1; initial begin forever #10ns a <= $random(); end

Module instantiation
module tb (); bit clk, reset; bit [7:0] av, bv; simple_fifo dut(.*, // ports are connected to signals with the same name .a(av), // except the ones named later .b()); // b is left open

always #5ns clk <= !clk;


initial #30ns reset <= 1; initial begin forever #10ns av <= $random(); end endmodule

Parameters
used to express configurability
module #( parameter DEPTH=64, parameter WIDTH=8 ) simple_fifo ( input logic clk, input logic rst, input logic [WIDTH-1:0] a, output logic [WIDTH-1:0] b );
localparam internal_param_name; endmodule

module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, rst; bit [7:0] a, b;
simple_fifo #( .DEPTH(64), .WIDTH(8)) dut ( .clk(clk), .rst(rst), .a(a), .b(b));

endmodule

Parameters
used to express configurability
module #( parameter DEPTH=64, parameter WIDTH=8 ) simple_fifo ( input logic clk, input logic rst, input logic [WIDTH-1:0] a, output logic [WIDTH-1:0] b );
localparam internal_param_name; endmodule

module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, rst; bit [7:0] a, b;
simple_fifo #( .DEPTH(64), .WIDTH(8)) dut ( .clk(clk), .rst(rst), .a(a), .b(b));

endmodule

Parameters
Positional instantiation
module #( parameter DEPTH=64, parameter WIDTH=8 ) simple_fifo ( input logic clk, input logic rst, input logic [WIDTH-1:0] a, output logic [WIDTH-1:0] b );
localparam internal_param_name; endmodule

module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, rst; bit [7:0] a, b;
simple_fifo #(64,8) dut ( .clk(clk), .rst(rst), .a(a), .b(b));

endmodule

Parameters
Other notation
module simple_fifo ( input logic clk, input logic rst, input logic [WIDTH-1:0] a, output logic [WIDTH-1:0] b ); parameter DEPTH=64 parameter WIDTH=8 localparam internal_param_name; endmodule module tb (); // top-level testbench has no inputs/outputs bit clk, rst; bit [7:0] a, b;
simple_fifo #( .DEPTH(64), .WIDTH(8)) dut ( .clk(clk), .rst(rst), .a(a), .b(b));

endmodule

Parameters
If not overwritten, they keep their default value Can have a type:
parameter logic [7:0] DEPTH = 64;

localparam: like parameters, but cannot be modified hierarchically during the instantiation Used to indicate a parameter that there is not any sense for it to be modified by some higher block in the hierarchy

Hierarchical access
From anywhere, it is possible to access any object in the hierarchy by accessing through its full path starting from the top module name:

a <= top.dut.subDutUnit.intObjectName;
The testbench can monitor any internal DUT signal (white/grey box verification) without having the signal forwarded through ports

SystemVerilog Programs
Programs are and look like modules, but:
They cannot contain always blocks They cannot include modules Simulation finishes automatically when all initial have been completed

Always blocks are the basic building block of RTL code, not needed by the testbenches Programs can do everything that is needed for verification

Clocking block
default clocking ck1 @(posedge clk); default input #1ns output #1ns; // reading and writing skew input a; // a, b, objects visible from this scope output b; // input: can read; output: can write output negedge rst; // overwrite the default skew to the negedge // of the clock inout c; // inout: can both read and write input d = top.dut.internal_dut_signal_name; endclocking Inside a module/program, we access signals for read/write inside processes in this way:
ck1.a <= 1b1; c = ck1.b; // or c <= ck1.b; ck1.d <= e;

A write will take place 1ns after the clock edge, a read will read the value that the signal had 1ns before the clock edge

Clocking block
The clocking block makes the timing relation (positive-edge of the clock or other explicit) Since we only verify synchronous systems with a single clock, we need a single clocking block
We add only one and specify it as default

It gives a input and output skew to read/write to the signals The input/output skew can also be omitted

Clocking blocks and programs


The rules of SV say that if we access signals from a program through a clocking block, there will be no race condition between testbench and DUT
Even if no timing skew is specified

When there is a default clocking block in a program/module we can use the ##n timing construct: wait n cycles as specified by the default clocking block
examples:
##3; // wait 3 cycles ##(2*a); //wait a number of cycles equal to the double of the value of variable a initial begin
##3 reset <= 0; forever begin ##1 a <= ~a; end

end

##1 executed at a time instant in which there is no clock edge will delay by a fraction of the clock cycle (wait until the first clock edge only)

generate
Used to generate processes and continuous assignments No need of generate endgenerate statements Define a variable of type genvar We can then do a generate using a loop or if with with the genvar Example:
genvar i; initial ##20 b <= 0; for(i=0;i<3;i++) begin initial begin ##(i) a <= $urandom; end if (i==1) begin always @(posedge clk) begin end end end

named blocks
after every begin there can be an optional name Allows hierarchical access to local variables and to find the variables in the simulator window
ex:
initial begin : inputController if (a==10) begin : terminationHandler end end

Good Testbench Structure


Write all your testbenches in this way The testbench program must use access all DUT signals in read and write through the default clocking block Only timing construct allowed in the testbench program: ##
top module generation of clock

clk
testbench program drive DUT inputs, check DUT outputs DUT

Good Testbench Structure


Alternative: several programs are allowed all use clocking block in links to the DUT

top module generation of clock


clk testbench program drive inputs DUT testbench program check outputs

Good testbench structure


You can use any structure you like, everything is allowed
The one below is more UVM-like

top module generation of clock


clk testbench program drive some inputs testbench program drive other inputs DUT testbench program collect outputs translate them into a higher level model program check outputs

Good testbench structure


You can use multiple programs, but given the size of the testbenches used in this course, one program that does everything is a good choice All inputs/outputs to the DUT through the default clocking block Only timing construct allowed: ## (no need for other levels of granularity) Try to keep separated the different functions (input generation, output checking) using several initial blocks