Global training solutions for engineers creating the world's electronics

Embedded Design for Intel SoC FPGAs

(formerly Altera SoC FPGAs)

Standard and Advanced Level - 4 days

The latest Intel® SoC FPGAs (Altera® Cyclone® V & Arria® V), with their Embedded Processing System using ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCores represent a significant evolution for Altera devices. To help you understand the design challenges and maximise the potential of these SoC FPGAs, this modular four day training course covers the essential concepts and tools usage to help you start a new application with confidence, as well as provide lots of practical examples that you can use as a basis within your environment.

The first day focuses on Qsys and how to build, populate and verify the FPGA (hardware programmable) side of the device.

The two following days must be attended together: they cover the Hardware and the Software aspects of the SoC FPGAs.

The final day is dedicated to the Embedded Linux distribution, developed and maintained by Altera. This day is recommended for both Linux novices and experienced designers, in both software and hardware contexts, as bare metal is not the recommended path.

Hardware and software engineers who wish to learn how to design and program the Altera SoC FPGAs.

  • Not sure how much training you need?
  • Looking to attend specific modules?
  • Part of a team?

Attendance of specific modules is possible, depending on your experience, and on-site training is also available to optimize the course to your precise needs, experience, and expectations.

Please contact your local Doulos team to discuss your requirements. 

  • A strong interest in using the Altera SoC FPGAs
  • Basic understanding of Digital Design and Programmable Logic
  • If possible: an ability to understand simple C code
  • How to use Qsys to build a custom computing platform with Master and Slave Peripherals.
  • How a Nios II softcore can be added to exercise and debug this system.
  • How to activate, configure, program and debug the HPS Side (Embedded Cores and peripherals), both Software and Hardware aspects.
  • How to set up, configure and use the Altera Linux distribution, also in the context of driving custom peripherals.

Appropriate topics are followed by practical hands-on exercises.

Part 1: Using Qsys to build the Custom Logic

Day 1

  • Basic concepts
    Introduction to Altera SoPC. The Interconnect Fabric and its generation using Qsys. The Nios II processors. Standard Peripherals (SystemID, Jtag UART, On-chip memory, PIO, Timer...).

  • Introduction to Qsys
    Practical Exercise: Create a complete SoPC system and test on the SoCKit.

  • Introduction to Custom Peripherals and using SystemConsole
    High Value of custom peripherals. Avalon bus formats: ST & MM. The Component Editor. Creating & publishing a custom peripheral. Principle and basic use of SystemConsole for System Bring up.
    Practical Exercise: Using VHDL to design a Custom peripheral, tested on the SoCKit.
  • Introduction to Nios II EDS / Eclipse Software Development Environment
    Creating a Software Project. Entering and compiling the code. Loading, executing and debugging the code under Eclipse. 
    Practical Exercise: Creating a software project using the custom Peripheral tested on the SoCKit.
  • Validating the hardware platform by HDL (co)simulation.
    Creating the simulation models, behavioral models and BFMs, using ModelSim.
    Practical Exercise: RTL Simulation of the SoPC system using ModelSim AE.


Part 2: Intel ARM SoC FPGA Design (2 days)

Day 2

  • The SoC FPGA Altera families with ARM Cortex A9 MP Embedded Processing units.
    Dichitomy Logic Programmable (User Logic) - HPS (Hard Processor System). Pin-assignment and pin-sharing issues. Rapid introduction to the HPS System blocks (processors, integrated peripherals, Memory Interfaces, Caches and provisions for data integrity and debugging, interconnects and data flow...)

  • Configuring the HPS
    Clocking, Reset, Configuration source, Boot sources, configuring the bridges with the Programmable (User) side.
    Practical Exercise: Creating a complete project and Configuring the HPS.

  • Building the Communication between HPS and Configurable (User) Logic.
    Reviewing and understanding the different links available, and how/when to use them. Mapping User Peripherals in the HPS memory map. Accessing HPS peripherals from the User Logic side.
    Practical Exercise: Golden Hardware Reference Design including a User Peripheral for Digital Signal processing on a stream of data.

  • Introduction to SystemVerilog BFMs and to the verification environment.


Day 3

  • Hardware to Software Handoff 
    Principles, tools and files involved. Understanding all the start up phases (from the initial configuration to the working Operating System Linux) with the possible options and boot sources.

  • SoCAL and HWLIB
    Current situation and roadmap. Limitation of bare-metal. AMP vs SMP.

  • The BSP Editor 
    Practical Exercise

  • The ARM Development Environment: DS-5
    General functions, code entry, compilation, connection and download to the target. Avoiding pitfalls.

  • Understanding the Preloader and the tasks it implements.
    Practical Exercise: generating the preloader, code inspection, inserting user code and bare-metal debug using DS-5.

  • Combined Hardware-Software debugging
    Practical Exercise:Adaptative Debugging and Cross-triggering.

  • Presenting the available Embedded Operating Systems
    The Linux distribution proposed and maintained by Altera.

  • Using Streamline tools for Real-time Monitoring and Analysis
    Practical Exercise

Part 3: Embedded Linux for SoC FPGAs

Day 4

  • What is Embedded Linux?
    Principles and Jargon.

  • Rapid Description of the Altera distribution
    Yocto (and Ängström): Why and for whom. Demo: Customizing the standard distribution.
    Practical Exercise: How to build the Linux Image, program the SD-Card and boot Linux using DS-5.

  • The main Linux shell commands and services
    Practical Exercise: Experimenting with the Altera distribution on the SoCkit. Boot, command line (shell), services, connection to the Ethernet, volume mounting, etc.

  • uBoot
    Principle, usefulness.
    Practical Exercise: Booting from a network, image.

  • The Device Tree Generator
    How to dynamically take user (custom) peripherals located in the programmable side into account.
    Practical Exercise: Creating and testing a simple driver for the custom DSP processing peripheral.

  • Software Cross-Development
    Coding, compiling, executing and debugging a Linux Application with user peripherals. Practical Exercise: Using the previously developed driver in an application.

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