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Getting Started

Quick Start

This will take you through the necessary steps to get a sample program running on a cluster of Snitch cores.

  1. Clone the repository.
    git clone
  2. Start the Docker container containing all necessary development tools. If you do not want (or can not) use Docker please see the prerequisites sections on how to obtain all required tools.
    docker run -it -v `pwd`/snitch:/repo -w /repo
  3. To simulate a cluster of Snitch cores go to hw/system/snitch_cluster and build the Verilator model for the Snitch cluster.
    cd hw/system/snitch_cluster
    make bin/snitch_cluster.vlt
  4. Build the software.
    mkdir sw/build
    cd sw/build
    cmake ..
  5. Run a sample application on the Verilator model.
    ./bin/snitch_cluster.vlt sw/build/benchmark/benchmark-matmul-all
  6. Generate the annotated traces and inspect the trace for core 0.
    make traces
    less trace_hart_00000000.txt
    Optionally you can inspect the dumped waveforms (snitch_cluster.vcd).


We recommend using the Docker container. If that should not be possible (because of missing privileges for example) you can install the required tools and components yourself.

We recommend a reasonable new Linux distribution, for example, Ubuntu 18.04:

  • Install essential packages:
    sudo apt-get install build-essential python3 python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-wheel
  • Install the Python requirements using:
    pip3 install --user -r python-requirements.txt
  • We are using Bender for file list generation. The easiest way to obtain Bender is through its binary release channel:
    curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh
  • Finally, get a RISC-V toolchain. We recommend obtaining binary releases for your operating system from SiFive's SW site.
    • Unpack the toolchain to a location of your choice (assuming $RISCV here). For example for Ubuntu you do:
      mkdir -p $RISCV && tar -x -f riscv64-unknown-elf-gcc-8.3.0-2020.04.0-x86_64-linux-ubuntu14.tar.gz --strip-components=1 -C $RISCV
    • Add the $RISCV/bin folder to your path variable.
      export PATH=$RISCV/bin:$PATH
    • The downloaded toolchain is a multi-lib toolchain, nevertheless our SW scripts currently expect binaries named riscv32-*. You can just alias riscv64-* to riscv32-* using:
      cd $RISCV/bin && for file in riscv64-*; do ln -s $file $(echo "$file" | sed 's/^riscv64/riscv32/g'); done

An alternative way, if you have Rust installed, is cargo install bender.

Tool Requirements

  • bender >= 0.21
  • verilator >= 4.100

Software Development

  • The banshee simulator is built using Rust. We recommend rustup if you haven't installed Rust already.
  • C/C++ code is formatted using clang-format.

Hardware Development

  • We use verible for style linting. Either build it from source or, if available for your platform, use one of the pre-built images.
  • We support simulation with Verilator, VCS and Modelsim.