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A module consists of three things: state, rules that operate on that state, and the module's interface to the outside world (surrounding hierarchy). A module definition specifies a scheme that can be instantiated multiple times.

The state conceptually consists of all state in the sub-hierarchy headed by this module; ultimately, it consists of all the lower leaf module instances. Rules are the fundamental means to express behavior in Bluespec SystemVerilog. Interfaces consist of methods that encapsulate the possible transactions that clients can perform, i.e., the micro-protocols with which clients interact with the module. When compiled into RTL, an interface becomes a collection of wires.

Module Syntax

A module definition begins with a module header, followed by zero or more module statements, ending with the closing endmodule keyword. The module header contains the keyword module, the module name, parameters, arguments, interface type and provisos. The module name on the closing endmodule statement is optional. See the BSV Reference Manual for the complete module definition syntax.

 module name (parameters)(Interface_type interface_name) provisos;
module statements;
endmodule: name

Modules and Interfaces

One difference between SystemVerilog and Verilog is that SystemVerilog separates the declaration of an interface from the module definition. This allows you to define a common interface once, and use that interface in multiple modules, without having to repeat the interface definition in each of the implementation modules.

As shown above, the module definition includes the interface being provided by the module.

  • Modules provide provides a particular interface.
  • Its external environment uses the provided interface.
  • Every module uses the interfaces just below it in the hierarchy.
  • Every module provides an interface to the module above it in the hierarchy.

Module m2 provides interface i2
Module m1 uses interface i2

Defining and instantiating modules and interfaces

When defining the module, specify the provided interface type in the module header:

module mkM (BusInterface);  //BusInterface is a previously defined Interface type
endmodule: mkM

When instantiating (using) the module, instantiate the interface:

module mkTop;
BusInterface bus1 <- mkM ;
endmodule: mkTop

Synthesizing Modules

Synthesizable Modules

In order to generate code for a Bluespec SystemVerilog design (for either Verilog or Bluesim), it is necessary to indicate to the compiler which module(s) are to be synthesized. A module that is marked for code generation is said to be a synthesized module.

In order to be synthesizable, a module must meet the following characteristics:

  • The module must be of type Module and not of any other module type that can be defined with ModuleCollect;
  • Its interface must be fully specified; there can be no polymorphic types in the interface;
  • Its interface is a type whose methods and subinterfaces are all convertible to wires;
  • All other inputs to the module must be convertible to Bits;

Synthesizable Module Interfaces and Parameters

As mentioned above, a module is synthesizable if its interface is convertible to wires.

  • An interface is convertible to wires if all methods and subinterfaces are convertible to wires.
  • A method is convertible to wires if
    • all arguments are convertible to bits;
    • it is an Action method or it is an ActionValue or value method where the return value is convertible to bits.
  • Clock and Reset subinterfaces are convertible to wires.

To be convertible to bits, a type must be in the Bits typeclass.

For a module to be synthesizable its additional parameters must be of type Clock, Reset, or a type convertible to bits. For example, if a parameter is a datatype, such as Integer, which is not in the Bits typeclass, then the module cannot be separately synthesized.

Marking a Module for Synthesis

A module can be marked for synthesis in one of two ways.

  1. A module can be annotated with the synthesize attribute. The appropriate syntax is:

  (* synthesize *)
module mkFoo (FooIfc);

  1. Alternatively, the -g compiler flag can be used on the bsc command line to indicate which module is to be synthesized. In order to have the same effect as the attribute syntax shown above, the flag would be used with the format -g mkFoo (the appropriate module name follows the -g flag).

Note that multiple modules may be selected for code generation (by using multiple synthesize attributes, multiple -g compiler flag, or a combination of the two).