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Homework 4

Due 03/30
Weight: 15%

Problem 1-3 must be done with your project partner. Names must be included in the partners.txt file included in the supplied tar file.


  • Problem 1-3
    • Electronic submission of files: Submit to learn@UW, One submission per pair, titled hw4.tar

Not Submitted:

  • Problems 4 - 11:
    • These problems are optional and will not be graded but are recommended for a better understanding of the course material.


  • Problem 1 involves a more complex design require state machines
  • Problem 2 involves synthesizing your new FIFO
  • Problem 3 involves developing instruction level tests for your processor

Provided Files

  • A tarball is provided that includes testbenches and top level module definitions for all verilog problems: hw4.tar
  • Do not edit the provided *_hier.v files

Handin Instructions

  • You must maintain the directory structure that exists in the provided tar file, i.e. each problem has its own subdirectory titled hw4_[1,2,3]
  • All verilog files required to run your verilog must be in each problem's respective subdirectory. You may also need to have copies of some files in each directory.
  • For problem 2, be sure to submit all the files in the synth directory generated by synthesis
  • For problem 3, be sure to submit all your .asm files
  • Once you are done with a Verilog problem, run the command in the problem directory to make sure that you adhere to the Verilog Rules. See Verilog rules check for more details.
  • A legible schematic.pdf file must be in the problem 1 subdirectory with the schematics you drew.
    • Any solution without a corresponding schematic drawing will NOT be graded
    • A scanner is available for general use in Wendt Library
  • The partners.txt file at the top level of the tarball must contain the names of yourself and your partner.
  • Submit only this tar file named hw4.tar - only one partner needs to submit the file

Problem 1

In this problem, you must design a FIFO that can hold 64-bit data values. Design, simulate, and verify in Verilog, a 4-entry FIFO that can hold 64-bit data. The FIFO should implement the functionality of a conventional first-in-first-out data structure. You may assume the D-flip flop module provided. The FIFO accepts new input each cycle when the data_in_valid is asserted, unless it is full (indicated by fifo_full). Data that is “inserted” into a full FIFO is ignored. The data_out signal is always driven by the data at the head of the FIFO (the oldest data). The head of the FIFO is popped when pop_fifo is asserted. An empty FIFO drives zeros on data_out and asserts fifo_empty. Popping an empty FIFO has no effect. Asserting reset makes the FIFO empty. All outputs should change only in response to the clock edge.

The "err" output is a standard way of indicating hardware errors or illegal states. Assert it (1'b1) for states which are supposed to be impossible to get into.


  • If the fifo is full, fifo_full should be held high (irrespective of whether data_in_valid is asserted or not)
  • If the fifo is empty, fifo_empty should be held high (irrespective of whether pop_fifo is asserted or not)
  • Handling the case when both data_in_valid and pop_fifo are asserted
    • CASE I: The fifo is neither empty nor full
      • Expected behavior: Both the requests should be serviced. ie, the appropriate elements should be inserted/popped to/from the fifo.
    • CASE II: The fifo is empty.
      • Accept the incoming element and write it into the fifo. Do not pop the element in the same cycle (continue to assert fifo_empty in that cycle). You should not bypass the element to fifo output directly.
    • CASE III: The fifo is full.
      • Ignore the data being inserted, pop the correct element from the FIFO and drive data_out. Again, do not insert anything into the FIFO in the same cycle.

Do not make any changes to the provided fifo_hier.v file.

Testbench instructions

You must verify your design using the testbench in the supplied tar file. Run the testbench in your hw4_1 directory using the command fifo_bench *.v

The testbench for this problem (fifo_bench.v) consists of 145 randomly generated test cases. Each test case asserts a set of input signals to your module, and after one cycle, compares outputs from your module with the outputs that are expected from a perfect FIFO implementation.

If there are no errors in your design you will see a "TEST PASSED" message. If the testbench failed with a "TEST FAILED" message, there are 3 possible reasons:

  1. Error in fifo_empty signal: You will see an error message similar to "MINORCHECK : In cycle xx - EMPTY logic : empty = xx, expected empty = xx" in the testbench output.
  2. Error in fifo_full signal: You will see an error message similar to "MINORCHECK : In cycle xx - FULL logic : full = xx, expected full = xx" in the testbench output.
  3. Error in data_out signal: You will see an error message similar to "ERRORCHECK : In cycle xx - Data out error. data_out = xx, expcted data_out = xx" in the testbench output.

Above each of these error messages you will see the inputs to your module, your outputs and the expected outputs for that cycle which can help you debug. If you have only "MINORCHECK" errors in your submission, you will get a maximum of 85% for this problem.

Problem 2

Read the synthesis tutorial on the Synthesis page.

Synthesize your FIFO from problem 1. Synthesis will create the 'synth' directory which will include fifo.syn.v, area report, timing report, etc. Do not delete this directory, copy this output to the hw4_2 directory - it must be included in your submission. Make sure that in the area report no cell has an area of zero

Problem 3

Develop instruction level tests for your processor. In this problem each one of you will develop a set of small programs that are meant to test whether your processor implements these instructions correctly. You will write these programs in assembly, run them on an instruction emulator to make sure what you wrote is indeed testing the right thing. The eventual goal is to run these programs on your processor's verilog implementation and use them to test your implementation.

Info about how to write assembly code and also about how to use the assembler can be found in the Using the assembler page. Details about what each instruction means is available in the ISA specification page.

Each team will be responsible for one randomly assigned instruction (along with common instructions jal, jalr) and must develop a set of simple programs for that instructions. Each team will also have to write programs for jal, jalr instructions along their assigned instruction. The table below gives the assignment of instructions to each team.

Partner 1Partner 2Instruction
Cody SchnabelNoah Krausesco
Nolan TenpasThomas Wieslerj
Ruihao ZhuBradly Millerbgez
Micaela ConnorsAllen KEMPKErol
Craig BarabasJackson Milkeyseq
Pritesh KalantriKeifer Caebexori
Alexander GlowackiThomas Lindenadd
JOHN SHELTONAkash Khetwanistu
Kyle MatsonDuncan Steenburghxor
Matthew WongGwynna Nortonbtr
Tiffany VossBlake Jansensubi
Robert JohnsonEric Heinzsrli
ALEXANDER SCHIMPBrian Cornillerori
Nicole IllikainenJoseph Kustslt
David SchmidtJosh Lukassll
Setareh BehrooziEHSAN AHMADIror
Dustin WiczekOng Lee Pingandn
James RichisonRyan Golnerst
Peter LuickYIZHENG YUbnez
Jimmy DALLMANMichael Cianciminosub
Justin SchrimmerJoseph Bentheinsrl
Tyler YoungOscar Juarezbltz
Alexander CoadCheng Xiangld
Marshall StutzSusan Yangjr
Jake HaefnerArup Arcalgudslbi
Jordan RoenArissa Satoslli
Beite ZhangJacob Beccoaddi
Kyujin JungShandong Chailbi
Lucas RickeyJames Papasll
Hanyin WangXuxiang Wuroli
Giang NguyenAgrim Pandeyjr
Eric EichstadtZach Wachtelbnez
Tony BAIRongyi Wangj
Sydney WhaleyConnor Sheedyandni
John GasaoThai Thaobgez
George MaoSteven Rittersub
Yichen WengYILONG LIaddi
Douglas DresserDavid Olsonslbi
Maddie MeierCameron Westrori
Dylan JahnkeSILAS EXUMandn
Kevin ZhouHailey Hultquiststu
Matthieu FilliatBaily Zintlbltz
SANJAY RAJMOHANShyamal Anadkatror
Onika HartwellNathan Van Hogenseq
Joanne LeeSparsh Agarwalrol
Rachel SowadaJerit Georgeslli
Kazniyaz KabyldenovJonathan Mendozaxor

Note: I got the list of teams from the design review signups. If you didn't do the design review you likely aren't on the list. Please contact me and you'll be added.

To get you started below are two example tests for the add instruction.


lbi r1, 255
lbi r2, 255
add r3, r1, r2


lbi r1, 255
lbi r2, 0
add r3, r1, r2

You will notice one thing. The add test uses the lbi instruction also! Your goal while writing these tests is to isolate your instruction as much as possible and minimize the use of the other instructions. Identify different corner cases and the common case for your instruction and develop a set of simple test programs.

The work flow we will follow is:

  1. Write test in WISC-SP13 assembly language.
  2. Assemble using assembler
  3. Simulate the test in the simulator and make sure your test is doing what you thought it was doing. Use the simulator: wisccalculator

Read the following two documents on how to use to assembler and simulator:

Below is a short demo:

prompt% add_0.asm
Created the following files
loadfile_0.img  loadfile_1.img  loadfile_2.img  loadfile_3.img  loadfile_all.img  loadfile.lst

prompt% wiscalculator loadfile_all.img

WISCalculator v1.0
Author Derek Hower (
Type "help" for more information

Loading program...
lbi r1, -1
INUM:        0 PC: 0x0000 REG: 1 VALUE: 0xffff
lbi r2, -1
INUM:        1 PC: 0x0002 REG: 2 VALUE: 0xffff
add r3, r1, r2
INUM:        2 PC: 0x0004 REG: 3 VALUE: 0xfffe
program halted
INUM:        3 PC: 0x0006
Program Finished


The simulator will print a trace of each instruction along with the state of the relevant registers. You should examine these to make sure that your test is indeed doing what is expected.

What you need to do:

  • Write a set of tests for your instruction. Name them <instruction>_[0,1,2,3,...].asm
  • Use your discretion to decide how many tests you need
  • Identify corner cases. Think about possible bugs in the hardware.
  • Tests should be short and target specific cases, NOT all cases at once.
  • Limit the number of other instructions used besides what you're testing. If the test fails it should ideally be from the instruction you're testing and not another that was used.
  • In addition to your assigned instruction, everyone must write tests for the jal and jalr instruction
  • Write comments in your assembly code explain what the test is doing (comments use "//" for our assembler)
  • Make sure that all of your assembly files will assemble. You won't get credit for malformed assembly.
  • The goal of this problem is to make sure you understand the ISA and develop targeted tests for the hardware. Understanding the ISA is required before building hardware for it!

The remaining problems will not be graded but are recommended for better understanding of the course material.

Problem 4

Indicate all of the true, anti-, and output-dependences in the following segment of MIPS assembly code:

    xor    $1, $2, $3
    and    $4, $5, $6
    sub    $7, $4, $5
    add    $5, $1, $5
    sw     $4, 100($7)
    or     $4, $7, $4 

For the code above, which of the dependences will manifest themselves as hazards in the pipeline in Figure 4.41 on page 355 of COD4e? How are these hazards resolved in this pipeline? Assuming the 'xor' instruction enters fetch (F) in cycle 1, in what cycle does the 'or' instruction enter writeback (W)? Show your work in a pipeline diagram. (Assume that the register file cannot read and write the same register in the same cycle and get the new data.)

How does your answer change if you consider the pipeline in 4.60, on page 375 of COD4e? (Assume that the register file contains internal bypassing and can read and write the same register in the same cycle and get the new data.)

Problem 5

Consider the following assembly program to be executed in a MIPS ISA 5-stage(F,D,X,M,W) pipelined data path given in figure 4.51 on page 362 of COD4e:

    I1: add $3,$4,$6
    I2: sub $5,$3,$2
    I3: lw $6,100($5)
    I4: add $5,$6,$3

a) Identify every occurrence and every types of data dependencies True(RAW), Anti(WAR), Output(WAW) in the above problem. Also, indicate which register is involved in that data dependency.

b) If this program is to be executed in a pipelined data path, create a pipeline timing diagram table(clock cycle numbers as column and instructions as rows)assuming NO forwarding, except that register forwarding is available.

c) Identify all the data hazards that may occur as applicable. For each hazard, indicate whether data forwarding(including register forwarding) may be applied to eliminate that hazard. For each hazard, give the two instructions involved, the register involved, and the pipeline register(IF/ID, ID/EX, EX/MEM, MEM/WB)whose output will be used for data forwarding.

Problem 6

Consider the following program code:

    lw  $s1, 8($s0)
    sub $s0,$s1,$S2 
    add $s0,$s0,$s1

If the above program is to be executed in a pipelined datapath given in figure 4.51 on page 362 of COD4e equipped with full data forwarding (as well as register forwarding), complete the timing diagram table(clock cycle numbers as column and instructions as rows). Also mark the clock cycle when a data forwarding(F) takes place or a pipeline stall(S) is inserted.

Problem 7

Consider the following code sequence and the datapath in figure 4.51 on page 362 of COD4e. Assuming the first instruction is fetched in cycle 1 and the branch is not taken, in which cycle does the 'and' instruction write its value to the register file? What if the branch IS taken? (Assume no branch prediction). Show pipeline diagrams.

            beq    $2, $3, foo
            add    $3, $4, $5
            sub    $5, $6, $7
            or     $7, $8, $9
    foo:    and    $5, $6, $7 

Problem 8

Consider the pipeline in Figure 4.51 on page 362; assume predict-not-taken for branches and assume a "Hazard detection unit" in the ID stage as shown on page 379. Can an attempt to flush and an attempt to stall occur simultaneously? If so, do they result in conflicting actions and/or cooperating actions? If there are any cooperating actions, how do they work together? If there are any conflicting actions, which should take priority? What would you do in the design to make sure this works correctly? You may want to consider the following code sequence to help you answer this question:

        beq $1, $2, TARGET  #assume that the branch is taken
        lw  $3, 40($4)
        add $2, $3, $4
        sw  $2, 40($4)
TARGET: or  $1, $1, $2

Problem 9

Consider the following MIPS assemble code segment:

         bne $s1,$s2,LABEL  // $s1 != $s2
         add $t2,$t1,$s1
         sw $t2,4($s1)
         j EXIT
  LABEL: lw $s1,4($s6)
  EXIT:  addi $s1,$s1,4

Assume this code segment on a pipelined data path with data forwarding depicted in figure 4.65 on page 384 of COD4e where the branch decision is made in ID stage.

Assuming $s1 != $s2, a control hazard will occur. Provide a timing diagram table (clock cycle numbers as column and instructions as rows), to show which instructions are running at which phase (F,D,X,M,W)at each clock cycle. If an instruction is flushed from the pipeline, then the remaining phases should not appear. If an instruction is stalled for one cycle, then the remaining phases will be pushed back by one cycle. Indicate on the clock cycle and corresponding instruction for any flush or stall action. (No branch predictors are used in this problem).

Problem 10

During the execution of a program, conditional branches have been executed 15 times. The traces of TAKEN(T) and NOT-TAKEN(N) of each branch instruction are listed below:


a) Prediction accuracy for "always NOT TAKEN" =

b) Prediction accuracy for "1 - bit predictor" =

   Indicate output of predictor for each instruction traced. Outcome = 1 if correct, and 0 if incorrect.

c) Prediction accuracy for "2 - bit predictor" =

   Indicate output of predictor for each instruction traced. Outcome = 1 if correct, and 0 if incorrect.

Note: For dynamic predictors (1 bit and 2 bit), assume the first predicted entry as TAKEN (T) and then proceed.

Problem 11

High performance datapaths use bypass paths (also known as data forwarding logic) to reduce pipeline stalls. However, bypass paths are relatively expensive, especially in some wire constrained technologies. To reduce the cost (and potential cycle time impact), some architects have explored omitting some of the possible bypass paths. Consider the datapath illustrated below (note that the PC update logic and all control logic is intentionally omitted). This pipelined datapath is similar to the one in the book, but only has bypass paths on one side of the ALU. Assume that the register file intentionally bypasses the value, so that if register Si is read and written in the same cycle, then the read returns the new value. Assume that the control logic bypasses the data as soon as possible using the given forwarding data paths, and stalls in decode otherwise. You may NOT add additional data paths.

In this problem, you will look at how a program snippet performs on this pipleline. Recall that R-format instructions have the form: opcode rd, rs, rt

and I-format instructions have the form: opcode rt, imm(rs) or opcode rt, rs, imm

Use the table given below to show how the given instruction sequence flows through the pipeline and where stalls are necessary to resolve hazards.

Timing Table

Consider the code and pipeline above. Show the execution of this code on the pipeline above. Use the letters, F, D, X, M, and W.

For each cycle where a stall occurs explain why ?

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