MyHDL is implemented as a Python package called
myhdl. This chapter
describes the objects that are exported by this package.
Simulation(arg[, arg ...])¶
Class to construct a new simulation. Each argument should be a MyHDL instance. In MyHDL, an instance is recursively defined as being either a sequence of instances, or a MyHDL generator, or a Cosimulation object. See section MyHDL generators and trigger objects for the definition of MyHDL generators and their interaction with a
Simulationobject. See Section Co-simulation for the
Cosimulationobject. At most one
Cosimulationobject can be passed to a
Simulation object has the following method:
Run the simulation forever (by default) or for a specified duration.
Quit the simulation after it has run for a specified duration. The method should be called (the simulation instance must be quit) before another simulation instance is created. The method is called by default when the simulation is run forever.
Simulation support functions¶
Returns the current simulation time.
Base exception that is caught by the
Simulation.run()method to stop a simulation.
traceSignals(func [, *args] [, **kwargs])¶
Enables signal tracing to a VCD file for waveform viewing. func is a function that returns an instance.
traceSignalscalls func under its control and passes *args and **kwargs to the call. In this way, it finds the hierarchy and the signals to be traced.
The return value is the same as would be returned by the call
func(*args, **kwargs). The top-level instance name and the basename of the VCD output filename is
func.func_nameby default. If the VCD file exists already, it will be moved to a backup file by attaching a timestamp to it, before creating the new file.
traceSignalscallable has the following attribute:
This attribute is used to overwrite the default top-level instance name and the basename of the VCD output filename.
This attribute is used to set the directory to which VCD files are written. By default, the current working directory is used.
This attribute is used to set the filename to which VCD files are written. By default, the name attribbute is used.
This attribute is used to set the timescale corresponding to unit steps, according to the VCD format. The assigned value should be a string. The default timescale is “1ns”.
The block decorator¶
The block decorator enables a method-based API which is more consistent, simplifies implementation, and reduces the size of the myhdl namespace.
The methods work on block instances, created by calling a function decorated with the block decorator:
@block def myblock(<ports>): ... return <instances> inst = myblock(<port-associations>) # inst supports the methods of the block instance API
The API on a block instance looks as follows:
Run a simulation “forever” (default) or for a specified duration.
Optional simulation configuration:
backend: Defaults to ‘myhdl
trace: Enable waveform tracing, default False.
Quit an active simulation. This is method is currently required because only a single simulation can be active.
Converts MyHDL code to a target HDL.
hdl: ‘VHDL’ or ‘Verilog’. Defaults to Verilog.
Supported keyword arguments:
path: Destination folder. Defaults to current working dir.
name: Module and output file name. Defaults to self.mod.__name__.
trace: Whether the testbench should dump all signal waveforms. Defaults to False.
testbench: Verilog only. Specifies whether a testbench should be created. Defaults to True.
timescale: timescale parameter. Defaults to ‘1ns/10ps’. Verilog only.
Verify conversion output, by comparing target HDL simulation log with MyHDL simulation log.
Analyze conversion output by compilation with target HDL compiler.
This type is the abstract base type of all signals. It is not used to construct signals, but it can be used to check whether an object is a signal.
Signal([val=None] [, delay=0])¶
This class is used to construct a new signal and to initialize its value to val. Optionally, a delay can be specified.
Signalobject has the following attributes:
Attribute that represents the positive edge of a signal, to be used in sensitivity lists.
Attribute that represents the negative edge of a signal, to be used in sensitivity lists.
Read-write attribute that represents the next value of the signal.
Read-only attribute that represents the current value of the signal.
This attribute is always available to access the current value; however in many practical case it will not be needed. Whenever there is no ambiguity, the Signal object’s current value is used implicitly. In particular, all Python’s standard numeric, bit-wise, logical and comparison operators are implemented on a Signal object by delegating to its current value. The exception is augmented assignment. These operators are not implemented as they would break the rule that the current value should be a read-only attribute. In addition, when a Signal object is assigned to the
nextattribute of another Signal object, its current value is assigned instead.
Read-only attribute that is the minimum value (inclusive) of a numeric signal, or
Nonefor no minimum.
Read-only attribute that is the maximum value (exclusive) of a numeric signal, or
Nonefor no maximum.
Writable attribute that can be used to indicate that the signal is supposed to be driven from the MyHDL code, and possibly how it should be declared in Verilog after conversion. The allowed values are
This attribute is useful when the converter cannot infer automatically whether and how a signal is driven. This occurs when the signal is driven from user-defined code.
'wire'are “true” values that permit finer control for the Verilog case.
Writable boolean attribute that can be used to indicate that the signal is read.
This attribute is useful when the converter cannot infer automatically whether a signal is read. This occurs when the signal is read from user-defined code.
Signalobject also has a call interface:
ResetSignal(val, active, async)¶
This Signal subclass defines reset signals. val, active, and async are mandatory arguments. val is a boolean value that specifies the intial value, active is a boolean value that specifies the active level. async is a boolean value that specifies the reset style: asynchronous (
True) or synchronous (
This class should be used in conjunction with the
_SliceSignal(sig, left[, right=None])¶
This class implements read-only structural slicing and indexing. It creates a new shadow signal of the slice or index of the parent signal sig. If the right parameter is omitted, you get indexing instead of slicing. Parameters left and right have the usual meaning for slice indices: in particular, left is non-inclusive but right is inclusive. sig should be appropriate for slicing and indexing, which means it should be based on
The class constructor is not intended to be used explicitly. Instead, use the call interface of a regular signal.The following calls are equivalent:
sl = _SliceSignal(sig, left, right) sl = sig(left, right)
This class creates a new shadow signal of the concatenation of its arguments.
You can pass an arbitrary number of arguments to the constructor. The arguments should be bit-oriented with a defined number of bits. The following argument types are supported:
intbvobjects with a defined bit width,
boolobjects, signals of the previous objects, and bit strings.
The new signal follows the value changes of the signal arguments. The non-signal arguments are used to define constant values in the concatenation.
This class is used to construct a new tristate signal. The underlying type is specified by the val parameter. It is a Signal subclass and has the usual attributes, with one exception: it doesn’t support the
nextattribute. Consequently, direct signal assignment to a tristate signal is not supported. The initial value is the tristate value
None. The current value of a tristate is determined by resolving the values from its drivers. When exactly one driver value is different from
None, that is the resolved value; otherwise it is
None. When more than one driver value is different from
None, a contention warning is issued.
This class has the following method:
MyHDL generators and trigger objects¶
MyHDL generators are standard Python generators with specialized
yield statements. In hardware description languages, the equivalent
statements are called sensitivity lists. The general format of
yield statements in in MyHDL generators is:
yield clause [, clause …]
When a generator executes a
yield statement, its execution is
suspended at that point. At the same time, each clause is a trigger object
which defines the condition upon which the generator should be resumed. However,
per invocation of a
yield statement, the generator resumes exactly
once, regardless of the number of clauses. This happens on the first trigger
In this section, the trigger objects and their functionality will be described.
Some MyHDL objects that are described elsewhere can directly be used as trigger
objects. In particular, a
Signal can be used as a trigger object. Whenever a
signal changes value, the generator resumes. Likewise, the objects referred to
by the signal attributes
negedge are trigger objects. The
generator resumes on the occurrence of a positive or a negative edge on the
signal, respectively. An edge occurs when there is a change from false to true
(positive) or vice versa (negative). For the full description of the
Signal class and its attributes, see section Signals.
Furthermore, MyHDL generators can be used as clauses in
Such a generator is forked, and starts operating immediately, while the original
generator waits for it to complete. The original generator resumes when the
forked generator returns.
In addition, the following functions return trigger objects:
Return a trigger object that specifies that the generator should resume after a delay t.
join(arg[, arg ...])¶
Join a number of trigger objects together and return a joined trigger object. The effect is that the joined trigger object will trigger when all of its arguments have triggered.
Finally, as a special case, the Python
None object can be present in a
yield statement. It is the do-nothing trigger object. The generator
immediately resumes, as if no
yield statement were present. This can be
useful if the
yield statement also has generator clauses: those generators
are forked, while the original generator resumes immediately.
Decorator functions to create generators¶
MyHDL defines a number of decorator functions, that make it easier to create generators from local generator functions.
instancedecorator is the most general decorator. It automatically creates a generator by calling the decorated generator function.
It is used as follows:
def top(...): ... @instance def inst(): <generator body> ... return inst, ...
This is equivalent to:
def top(...): ... def _gen_func(): <generator body> ... inst = _gen_func() ... return inst, ...
alwaysdecorator is a specialized decorator that targets a widely used coding pattern. It is used as follows:
def top(...): ... @always(event1, event2, ...) def inst() <body> ... return inst, ...
This is equivalent to the following:
def top(...): ... def _func(): <body> def _gen_func() while True: yield event1, event2, ... _func() ... inst = _gen_func() ... return inst, ...
The argument list of the decorator corresponds to the sensitivity list. Only signals, edge specifiers, or delay objects are allowed. The decorated function should be a classic function.
always_combdecorator is used to describe combinatorial logic.
def top(...): ... @always_comb def comb_inst(): <combinatorial body> ... return comb_inst, ...
always_combdecorator infers the inputs of the combinatorial logic and the corresponding sensitivity list automatically. The decorated function should be a classic function.
MyHDL data types¶
MyHDL defines a number of data types that are useful for hardware description.
intbv([val=0] [, min=None] [, max=None])¶
This class represents
int-like objects with some additional features that make it suitable for hardware design.
The val argument can be an
intbvor a bit string (a string with only ‘0’s or ‘1’s). For a bit string argument, the value is calculated as in
int(bitstring, 2). The optional min and max arguments can be used to specify the minimum and maximum value of the
intbvobject. As in standard Python practice for ranges, the minimum value is inclusive and the maximum value is exclusive.
The minimum and maximum values of an
intbvobject are available as attributes:
Interpretes the msb bit as as sign bit and extends it into the higher-order bits of the underlying object value. The msb bit is the highest-order bit within the object’s bit width.
Return type: integer
intbv objects are mutable; this is also
the reason for their existence. Mutability is needed to support assignment to
indexes and slices, as is common in hardware design. For the same reason,
intbv is not a subclass from
int, even though
provides most of the desired functionality. (It is not possible to derive a
mutable subtype from an immutable base type.)
intbv object supports the same comparison, numeric, bitwise,
logical, and conversion operations as
int objects. See
http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/typesnumeric.html for more information on
such operations. In all binary operations,
intbv objects can work
int objects. For mixed-type numeric operations, the
result type is an
int or a
long. For mixed-type bitwise
operations, the result type is an
||item i of bv||(1)|
||item i of bv is replaced by x||(1)|
||slice of bv from i downto j||(2)(3)|
||slice of bv from i downto j is replaced by t||(2)(4)|
- Indexing follows the most common hardware design conventions: the lsb bit is the
rightmost bit, and it has index 0. This has the following desirable property: if
intbvvalue is decomposed as a sum of powers of 2, the bit with index i corresponds to the term
- In contrast to standard Python sequencing conventions, slicing range are
downward. This is a consequence of the indexing convention, combined with the
common convention that the most significant digits of a number are the leftmost
ones. The Python convention of half-open ranges is followed: the bit with the
highest index is not included. However, it is the leftmost bit in this case.
As in standard Python, this takes care of one-off issues in many practical
cases: in particular,
bv[i:]returns i bits;
i-jbits. When the low index j is omitted, it defaults to
0. When the high index i is omitted, it means “all” higher order bits.
- The object returned from a slicing access operation is always a positive
intbv; higher order bits are implicitly assumed to be zero. The bit width is implicitly stored in the return object, so that it can be used in concatenations and as an iterator. In addition, for a bit width w, the min and max attributes are implicitly set to
- When setting a slice to a value, it is checked whether the slice is wide enough.
In addition, an
intbv object supports the iterator protocol. This makes
it possible to iterate over all its bits, from the high index to index 0. This
is only possible for
intbv objects with a defined bit width.
modbv([val=0] [, min=None] [, max=None])¶
modbvclass implements modular bit vector types.
It is implemented as a subclass of
intbvand supports the same parameters and operators. The difference is in the handling of the min and max boundaries. Instead of throwing an exception when those constraints are exceeded, the value of
modbvobjects wraps around according to the following formula:
val = (val - min) % (max - min) + min
This formula is a generalization of modulo wrap-around behavior that is often useful when describing hardware system behavior.
enum(arg [, arg ...] [, encoding='binary'])¶
Returns an enumeration type.
The arguments should be string literals that represent the desired names of the enumeration type attributes. The returned type should be assigned to a type name. For example:
t_EnumType = enum('ATTR_NAME_1', 'ATTR_NAME_2', ...)
The enumeration type identifiers are available as attributes of the type name, for example:
The optional keyword argument encoding specifies the encoding scheme used in Verilog output. The available encodings are
Modeling support functions¶
MyHDL defines a number of additional support functions that are useful for hardware description.
Returns a bit string representation. If the optional width is provided, and if it is larger than the width of the default representation, the bit string is padded with the sign bit.
This function complements the standard Python conversion functions
oct. A binary string representation is often useful in hardware design.
Return type: string
concat(base[, arg ...])¶
intbvobject formed by concatenating the arguments.
The first argument base is special as it does not need to have a defined bit width. In addition to the previously mentioned objects, unsized
longobjects are supported, as well as signals of such objects.
Generates a downward range list of integers.
This function is modeled after the standard
rangefunction, but works in the downward direction. The returned interval is half-open, with the high index not included. low is optional and defaults to zero. This function is especially useful in conjunction with the
intbvclass, that also works with downward indexing.
Class to construct a new Cosimulation object.
The exe argument is the command to execute an HDL simulation, which can be either a string of the entire command line or a list of strings. In the latter case, the first element is the executable, and subsequent elements are program arguments. Providing a list of arguments allows Python to correctly handle spaces or other characters in program arguments.
The kwargs keyword arguments provide a named association between signals (regs & nets) in the HDL simulator and signals in the MyHDL simulator. Each keyword should be a name listed in a
$from_myhdlcall in the HDL code. Each argument should be a
Signaldeclared in the MyHDL code.
$to_myhdl(arg, [, arg ...])
Task that defines which signals (regs & nets) should be read by the MyHDL simulator. This task should be called at the start of the simulation.
$from_myhdl(arg, [, arg ...])
Task that defines which signals should be driven by the MyHDL simulator. In Verilog, only regs can be specified. This task should be called at the start of the simulation.
Conversion to Verilog and VHDL¶
toVerilog(func [, *args] [, **kwargs])¶
Converts a MyHDL design instance to equivalent Verilog code, and also generates a test bench to verify it. func is a function that returns an instance.
toVerilogcalls func under its control and passes *args and **kwargs to the call.
The return value is the same as would be returned by the call
func(*args, **kwargs). It should be assigned to an instance name.
The top-level instance name and the basename of the Verilog output filename is
toVeriloghas the following attribute:
This attribute is used to overwrite the default top-level instance name and the basename of the Verilog output filename.
This attribute is used to set the directory to which converted verilog files are written. By default, the current working directory is used.
This attribute is used to set the timescale in Verilog format. The assigned value should be a string. The default timescale is “1ns/10ps”.
toVHDL(func[, *args][, **kwargs])¶
Converts a MyHDL design instance to equivalent VHDL code. func is a function that returns an instance.
toVHDLcalls func under its control and passes *args and **kwargs to the call.
The return value is the same as would be returned by the call
func(*args, **kwargs). It can be assigned to an instance name. The top-level instance name and the basename of the Verilog output filename is
toVHDLhas the following attributes:
This attribute is used to overwrite the default top-level instance name and the basename of the VHDL output.
This attribute is used to set the directory to which converted VHDL files are written. By default, the current working directory is used.
This attribute can be used to add component declarations to the VHDL output. When a string is assigned to it, it will be copied to the appropriate place in the output file.
This attribute can be used to set the library in the VHDL output file. The assigned value should be a string. The default library is
This boolean attribute can be used to have only
std_logictype ports on the top-level interface (when
True) instead of the default
False, the default).
User-defined Verilog and VHDL code¶
User-defined code can be inserted in the Verilog or VHDL output through
the use of function attributes. Suppose a function
a hardware module. User-defined code can be specified for the function
with the following function attributes:
A template string for user-defined code in the VHDL output.
A template string for user-defined code in the Verilog output.
When such a function attribute is defined, the normal conversion
process is bypassed and the user-defined code is inserted instead.
The template strings should be suitable for the standard
string.Template constructor. They can contain interpolation
variables (indicated by a
$ prefix) for all signals in the
context. Note that the function attribute can be defined anywhere where
<func> is visible, either outside or inside the function
These function attributes cannot be used with generator functions or decorated local functions, as these are not elaborated before simulation or conversion. In other words, they can only be used with functions that define structure.
Conversion output verification¶
MyHDL provides an interface to verify converted designs. This is used extensively in the package itself to verify the conversion functionality. This capability is exported by the package so that users can use it also.
All functions related to conversion verification are implemented in
verify(func[, *args][, **kwargs])¶
toVerilog. It converts MyHDL code, simulates both the MyHDL code and the HDL code and reports any differences. The default HDL simulator is GHDL.
This function has the following attribute:
Used to set the name of the HDL simulator.
"GHDL"is the default.
analyze(func[, *args][, **kwargs])¶
toVerilog. It converts MyHDL code, and analyzes the resulting HDL. Used to verify whether the HDL output is syntactically correct.
This function has the following attribute:
Used to set the name of the HDL simulator used to analyze the code.
"GHDL"is the default.
HDL simulator registration¶
To use a HDL simulator to verify conversions, it needs to be registered first. This is needed once per simulator.
A number of HDL simulators are preregistered in the MyHDL distribution, as follows:
||The GHDL VHDL simulator|
||The ModelSim VHDL simulator|
||The Icarus Verilog simulator|
||The cver Verilog simulator|
||The Modelsim VHDL simulator|
Of course, a simulator has to be installed before it can be used.
If another simulator is required, it has to be registered by the user.
This is done with the function
registerSimulation that lives
in the module
myhdl.conversion._verify. The same module also has the
registrations for the predefined simulators.
The verification functions work by comparing the HDL simulator
output with the MyHDL simulator output. Therefore, they have
to deal with the specific details of each HDL simulator output,
which may be somewhat tricky. This is reflected in the interface
registerSimulation function. As registration
is rarely needed, this interface is not further described here.
Please refer to the source code in
to learn how registration works. If you need help, please
contact the MyHDL community.