We’re running the First FireSim and Chipyard User/Developer Workshop at ASPLOS 2023 on March 26, 2023! This workshop will feature a full-day of submitted talks from users and developers in the FireSim and Chipyard community. Learn more and submit your work on the 2023 Workshop Page!

FireSim is an open-source FPGA-accelerated full-system hardware simulation platform that makes it easy to validate, profile, and debug RTL hardware implementations at 10s to 100s of MHz. FireSim simplifies co-simulating ASIC RTL with cycle-accurate hardware and software models for other system components (e.g. I/Os). FireSim can productively scale from individual SoC simulations hosted on on-prem FPGAs (e.g., a single Xilinx Alveo board attached to a desktop) to massive datacenter-scale simulations harnessing hundreds of cloud FPGAs (e.g., on Amazon EC2 F1).

Who’s using and developing FireSim? FireSim users across academia and industry have written over 25 papers using FireSim in many areas, including computer architecture, systems, networking, circuits, security, and more (see the Publications page). FireSim has also been used in the development of shipping commercial silicon. FireSim was originally developed in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley, but now has industrial and academic contributors from all over the world.

Getting started: You can find our extensive documentation and getting-started guide at docs.fires.im. The FireSim codebase is open-source at github.com/firesim/firesim and we welcome pull requests and issues. You can also get help from the FireSim user community on our User Forum. Additionally, we frequently run tutorials at various conferences and events; for overview purposes, you can find the most recent slide decks at fires.im/tutorial-recent (you should still follow docs.fires.im for the most up to date getting-started guide).

Learn more

This video from a recent seminar dives in-depth into FireSim. You can also scroll further down to read more FAQs.


What can I simulate with FireSim?

FireSim can simulate arbitrary hardware designs written in Chisel or Verilog. With FireSim, users can write their own RTL (processors, accelerators, etc.) and run it at near-FPGA-prototype speeds on cloud or on-prem FPGAs, while obtaining performance results that match an ASIC implementation of the same design. Depending on the hardware design and the simulation scale, FireSim simulations run at 10s to 100s of MHz. Users can also integrate custom software models for components that they don’t need or want to write as RTL. To help construct a closed and deterministic simulated environment around a design, FireSim includes validated and high-performance HW/SW models for I/Os like DRAM, Ethernet, Disks, UART, and more. The User Publications page links to a selection of papers written by FireSim users.

FireSim was originally developed to simulate datacenters by combining open RTL for RISC-V processors with a custom cycle-accurate network simulation. By default, FireSim provides all the RTL and models necessary to cycle-exactly simulate from one to thousands of multi-core compute nodes, derived directly from silicon-proven and open target-RTL (RISC-V Rocket Chip, BOOM, and Chipyard), with an optional cycle-accurate network simulation tying them together. FireSim also provides a Linux distribution that is compatible with the RISC-V systems it simulates and automates the process of including new workloads into this Linux distribution. These simulations run fast enough to interact with Linux on the simulated system at the command line, like a real computer. Users can even SSH into simulated systems in FireSim and access the Internet from within them.

What are some concrete use cases and examples?

Below is a selection of FireSim use cases, with example user papers. Many more examples can be found on the User Publications page.

Where can I run FireSim?

FireSim runs on both on-prem FPGAs (e.g. a Xilinx Alveo board attached to your desktop) and public cloud FPGAs (e.g. AWS EC2 F1). This flexibility makes it easy to rapidly get started with a single local FPGA, while also providing users with the option to elastically launch FPGA instances on the cloud when large-scale design space exploration is necessary. FireSim is also useful across target design scale, scaling easily from modeling novel datacenter architectures down to modeling novel, single-SoC designs at 10s to 100s of MHz. By harnessing standardized, well-defined host platforms and providing extensive automation/tooling, FireSim drastically simplifies the process of building and deploying FPGA-accelerated hardware simulations at any scale.

Our ISCA 2018 paper discusses the FireSim framework from the perspective of simulating a 1024-node datacenter built from custom RTL and network models. A more concise version of this paper is also available in our IEEE Micro Top Picks 2018 article. The YouTube video above talks about this use case in-detail starting at 13:50. You can also check-out our 2-minute lightning talk for ISCA on YouTube and our full talk slides from ISCA. Check out the Publications page to see the growing list of projects and papers that have used or are currently using FireSim.

Getting Started with FireSim

To get started with FireSim, you can find our extensive documentation and getting-started guide at docs.fires.im. The FireSim codebase is open-source at github.com/firesim/firesim and we welcome pull requests and issues. You can also get help from the FireSim user community on our User Forum. Additionally, we frequently run tutorials at various conferences and events; for overview purposes, you can find the most recent slide decks at fires.im/tutorial-recent (you should still follow docs.fires.im for the most up to date getting-started guide).


Recent News

Tutorial on FireSim and Chipyard at ASPLOS 2023!

Posted by Sagar Karandikar

We’re running a hands-on tutorial on FireSim and Chipyard at the The 28th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2023) in Vancouver, BC, Canada on March 25, 2023. Learn more here: https://fires.im/asplos-2023-tutorial/

Slides will be available after the tutorial and attendees will get to work hands-on on EC2 for free, thanks to the generosity of AWS and Xilinx. Hope to see you there!

Read more >>


Tutorial on FireSim and Chipyard at HPCA 2023!

Posted by Sagar Karandikar

We’re running a hands-on tutorial on FireSim and Chipyard at the The 29th IEEE International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA-29) in Montreal, QC, Canada on February 26, 2023. Learn more here: https://fires.im/hpca-2023-tutorial/

Slides will be available after the tutorial and attendees will get to work hands-on on EC2 for free, thanks to the generosity of AWS and Xilinx. Hope to see you there!

Read more >>


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