My name is Sven Andersson and I
work as a consultant in embedded
system design, implemented in ASIC
In my spare time I write this blog
and I hope it will inspire others to
learn more about this fantastic field.
I live in Stockholm Sweden and have
my own company
You are welcome to contact me
and ask questions or make comments
about my blog.
When designing an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or a field programmable gate array (FPGA) you use a hardware description language (HDL) like Verilog or VHDL. To verify that your design is correct you need a hardware simulator. To find a hardware simulator you have to contact a company that makes computer-aided design (CAD) tools. The three major companies developing CAD tools are Cadence, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys. Cadence has the Incisive Functional Verification Platform, Mentor has the Questa Scalable Verification, and Synopsys has the Discovery Verification Platform. Ever since I started as an ASIC designer in 1990 I have been using Cadence tools. Back then Verilog-XL was one of the few hardware modeling language available and Cadence owned Verilog-XL. With the increasing success of VHDL at the time, Cadence decided to make the language available for open standardization. Cadence transferred Verilog into the public domain under the Open Verilog International (OVI) (now known as Accellera) organization. Verilog was later submitted to IEEE and became IEEE Standard 1364-1995, commonly referred to as Verilog-95. Now it's time to install the Cadence hardware simulator. Let's go to the Cadence software download page.Before you can start the download you have to register as a Cadence user. To register you must already have a Cadence product installed. To run the simulator you also need an evaluation license. There is no freeware when it comes to CAD software but try to convince Cadence that you are a presumptive buyer of their software and they may give you access to their download page and an evaluation license. After signing up, go to the Electronic Distribution pageand follow these steps:
Go to the Linux page.
Download and install the program InstallScape. InstallScape lets you download and install selected Cadence products in a release in a single step. Create an install directory and download the compressed tar file to this directory. Use the command <tar -zxvf Iscape03.40-s012lnx86.t.z> to unzip and unpack the file at the same time.
Before starting the installation create two directories, one to temporarily store the downloaded files (archive) and one directory where the final installation will be stored.
Start Iscape in a terminal window using the script file ../iscape/bin/iscape.sh
Click <Select Release> and choose a server near you. Protocol should be <http>.
Click the <Select Release> button. Enter user name and password.
Select Release and Platform. Click the Linux tab and select IUS58 or later from the list. Click next.
Select Release : What do you want to do and select <Download a Release>. Click next.
Select Release : Select Source Site to Download. Select one of the releases from the list. Click the download button.
Download : What do you want to do. Select <Save Archive and Install>. Click next.
Download : Save Archive & Install. Choose <I will select products manually>. Click next.
Select Product. Select the full Incisive Unified Simulator (29300) from the list. Click next.
Start the installation. You will need 2.7 GB of disk space for the archive and the install directories. When the installation has finished you can delete the archive directory. With a high speed connection the installation will take about 30 minutes. When finished quit the window.
Before you can start to use the simulator it must be configured. Select <Configure Product> from the main Installscape window. Select <Install Directory> and click next button.
Select product <29300 Incisive Unified Simulator> and click next. The configuration script will start and you have to enter IAGREE before it kicks off. When finished close the report window. The installation is now finished and you can exit InstallScape.
To find out if the installation was successful you can start the verilog compiler <ncvlog>. Use the command install_dir/tools/bin/ncvlog. The compiler should start and print the following message: ncvlog : 05.82-p002 : ......
Usage : ncvlog [options] source.file ....
The simulator will not start without a license file. Cadence uses the FLEXlm software license manager and you have to have the license manager daemon running before starting the simulator (ncsim). You can ask Cadence for an evaluation license file that will last for 45 days. To generate a license file that will only run on your computer (node-locked) they need the MAC address of your machine. To find out the MAC address, execute the following command in a Linux terminal window. <sudo ifconfig -a>. Look for eth0 and the HWaddr. The MAC address will look like this 00:91:B8:DF:D3:C0. Send the MAC address to Cadence and they will generate a license file for you. When you receive the license file you have to make two changes to the file. The file is in ASCII format and can be edited with a standard text editor. The first three lines of the file will look like this: SERVER Cadence-SERVER 0091B8DFD3C0 5280 DAEMON cdslmd ./cdslmd USE_SERVER ........ Replace "Cadence-SERVER" with the hostname of your machine. To find out the hostname execute the following command in a terminal window: <hostname> Replace ./cdslmd with the full path name of the license daemon program located in the bin directory of the IUS58 installation. My license file looks like this after the changes: SERVER svenand-desktop 0091B8DFD3C0 5280 DAEMON cdslmd /home/svenand/cad/Cadence/ius58/tools/bin/cdslmd USE_SERVER ......... After editing the license file you start the license daemon using the following command: install_dir/tools/bin/lmgrd -c license_file When the license daemon is up and running you can start using the simulator. Good luck. Don't forget to define the environment variable CDS_LIC_FILE before starting. Use the following command, replacing <hostname> with the host name of your host: setenv CDS_LIC_FILE 5280@hostname (csh and tcsh) export CDS_LIC_FILE=5280@hostname (bash) or setenv CDS_LIC_FILE license_file export CDS_LIC_FILE=license_file
The picture shows a screenshot from my MacBook running Mac OS X with Parallels Desktop installed. The virtual machine has Ubuntu Linux booted. In the Ubuntu Linux OS the Cadence waveform viewer Simvision is running. The same thing goes for VMware Fusion.
I have worked as an FPGA/ ASIC design more than ten years ago and also used Verilog XL and other simulators. I would like to go back to it if possible…
My question is, is it possible to find a free Verilog simulator with limited capabilities (say student version) but for unlimited time (45 days is not enough)?