Running simulations using Spike

Spike is a RISC-V functional ISA simulator. It models a RISC-V core and cache system. Note that our fork hasn’t currently been modified to include tagged memory support.

An example hello world program is provided in riscv-tools/hello/:

# set up the RISCV environment variables
cd $TOP/riscv-tools/hello

This will generate three executables to run with and without the support of the proxy kernel and with the support of a full Linux OS:

To run the three hello world programs in their corresponding modes:

Bare metal mode

# requirements: riscv-isa-sim, riscv-fesvr, riscv-gnu-toolchain
spike hello.bare

With proxy kernel and newlib

# requirements: riscv-isa-sim, riscv-fesvr, riscv-pk, riscv-gnu-toolchain
spike pk

With a full Linux OS

# requirements: riscv-isa-sim, riscv-fesvr, riscv-gcc, riscv-linux, root.bin
# copy the program to the root image: 
sudo mount -o loop $TOP/riscv-tools/busybox-1.21.1/root.bin \
sudo cp hello.linux $TOP/riscv-tools/busybox-1.21.1/mnt/hello
sudo umount $TOP/riscv-tools/busybox-1.21.1/mnt

# boot Linux in Spike
spike +disk=$TOP/riscv-tools/busybox-1.21.1/root.bin \

# in the booted linux type: /hello

Using Spike

The command-line arguments to Spike can be listed with spike -h:

# usage: spike [host options] <target program> [target options]
# Host Options:
#   -p <n>             Simulate <n> processors
#   -m <n>             Provide <n> MB of target memory
#   -d                 Interactive debug mode
#   -g                 Track histogram of PCs
#   -h                 Print this help message
#   --ic=<S>:<W>:<B>   Instantiate a cache model with S sets,
#   --dc=<S>:<W>:<B>     W ways, and B-byte blocks (with S and
#   --l2=<S>:<W>:<B>     B both powers of 2).
#   --extension=<name> Specify RoCC Extension
#   --extlib=<name>    Shared library to load

Note: to use the -g argument Spike has to be compiled with the --enable-histogram option. This is not the case by default.

# set up the RISCV environment variables
cd $TOP/riscv-tools/riscv-isa-sim
mkdir build
cd build
../configure --prefix=$RISCV --with-fesvr=$RISCV --enable-histogram
make -j$(nproc)
make install

The Spike simulator supports an interactive debug mode. To invoke interactive debug mode, launch spike with -d, e.g:

spike -d pk hello

To see the contents of a register (0 is for core 0):

: reg 0 a0

To see the contents of a memory location (physical address in hex):

: mem 2020

To see the contents of memory with a virtual address (0 for core 0):

: mem 0 2020

You can advance by one instruction by pressing . You can also execute until a desired condition is reached:

(stop when pc=0x2020)
: until pc 0 2020

(stop when mem[0x2020]=0x50a9907311096993)
: until mem 2020 50a9907311096993

Alternatively, you can execute as long as a condition is true:

: while mem 2020 50a9907311096993

You can continue execution indefinitely by:

: r

At any point during execution (even without -d), you can enter the interactive debug mode with ctrl-c. To end the simulation from the debug prompt, press ctrl-c or:

: q

The proxy kernel also supports some arguments. One of them is to run programs in physical memory mode (-p), e.g:

spike pk -p hello

For other arguments, see lowrisc-chip/riscv-tools/riscv-pk/pk/init.c