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Contentious Live-Tracing as Debugging Approach on FPGAs

EasyChair Preprint no. 1681

8 pagesDate: October 16, 2019


This work presents a new approach for monitoring and debugging RTL logic on FPGAs—Live-Tracing-Logic. The design combines the two most common approaches for debugging RTL logic, Scan-Chains and Trace-Buffers, while avoiding their disadvantage: First, slow and clock-controlled scans of the Scan- Chains, second, a limited time period for tracing of Trace-Buffers, respectively. The Live-Tracing-Logic connects trace-buffer modules serially, monitors signal events continuously, transmits the collected data to the host system via a high bandwidth PCIe interface, and converts the data into a VCD file. Furthermore, an automatic tool flow is introduced, which requires only two user interactions: First, using pragmas, second, starting a TCL script. The Live-Tracing-Logic is evaluated for different workloads and different tracing modes. The results show that the architecture has the capacity to continuously trace up to 3.10 GB/s of data and is only limited by the PCIe interface. Furthermore, the Live- Tracing-Logic is suitable for multi clock designs and utilizes up to 70% less resources in comparison to the Integrated Logic Analyzer of Xilinx.

Keyphrases: Debugging, Field Programmable Gate Array, Logic Analyzer, tracing

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Christopher Blochwitz and Raphael Klink and Jan Moritz Joseph and Thilo Pionteck},
  title = {Contentious Live-Tracing as Debugging Approach on FPGAs},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1681},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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