Rapid Cycle-Accurate Simulator for High-Level Synthesis


A large semantic gap between the high-level synthesis (HLS) design and the low-level (on-board or RTL) simulation environment often creates a barrier for those who are not FPGA experts. Moreover, such low-level simulation takes a long time to complete. Software-based HLS simulators can help bridge this gap and accelerate the simulation process; however, we found that the current FPGA HLS commercial software simulators sometimes produce incorrect results. In order to solve this correctness issue while maintaining the high speed of a software-based simulator, this paper proposes a new HLS simulation flow named FLASH. The main idea behind the proposed flow is to extract the scheduling information from the HLS tool and automatically construct an equivalent cycle-accurate simulation model while preserving C semantics. Experimental results show that FLASH runs three orders of magnitude faster than the RTL simulation.

In International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), ACM.