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Creating an Acceleration Platform for Vitis Part Four: Testing a Custom Acceleration Platform in Vitis

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In the previous blog entries in this series we discussed how to create the hardware and software project. We then discussed how to package this project in Vitis™.

Next, we will be testing it in Vitis, by created a simple application that will be accelerated.

This is part four of the guide. You can find the other parts at the links below:

Part One: Creating the hardware project for the Acceleration Platform in Vivado

Part Two:  Creating the software project for the Acceleration Platform in PetaLinux 

Part Three: Packaging the Accelerated Platform in Vitis 

Creating the Application:

Launch Vitis, and Create the Application Project.

Select a platform from the repository, and click the + icon:


Browse to your custom platform:


Note: Make sure that the flow is set to Embedded Accel.

We can also see some resources. These are the clocks that we enabled.

Give you project a name:


The application settings should be auto-populated using the settings you entered when packaging your platform:


Lets use the template here:



If users do not have access to Hardware, then they can use emulation to test. We can use the Quick Emulation (QEMU) tool to emulate the system using pre-built DTB files (not to be confused with the dtb used for in the Linux image from PetaLinux).

There are two emulation build types; Emulation-SW, and Emulation-HW. 

Emulation-SW will emulate the whole system. However, to fully evaluate the RTL logic generated by the tool, Emulation-HW should be used. This uses a co-simulation between the QEMU and the XSIM. Note: QEMU is not cyclic accurate. Therefore, the memory model will not be cyclic accurate. As a result, performance numbers given by the Emulator should be used only as guidance. 

For example, to use the Emulation-SW:


Then Build:


Then right click on the app, and select Run As and Launch on Emulator:


You will see the Linux boot in QEMU in the Emulation console, and then hopefully you will see the test pass in the console window:


Test on Hardware:

I am planning to run this on my ZCU104 board, so I have changed the Active Build Config to Hardware:


Then Build:


So, what just happened here? Well, a lot actually:

  • Vitis used HLS to convert the C code to RTL, and packaged this with an AXI interface
  • Vitis then called Vivado and re-opened your XSA file, then added this new IP core
  • Vitis then used the metadata in your PFM to connect this IP core to the CPU
  • Vivado then re-implemented to create an updated bitstream
  • Vitis then re-packaged this bitstream in the boot image
  • The Vitis linker created the container file XCLBIN. The XRT parses this file to get the hardware and platform data needed for the kernels
  • The Vitis compiler generated the application file that will execute the kernels
  • Finally Vitis created an SD card IMG

Now format the SD card with the sd_card.img. file.

I used win32 disc imager:


Your SD Card should now look like the following example:


If you do not want to use the imager, then copying manually will suffice.

Running the Application:

Boot the Linux image, and use the commands below:

cd /mnt/mmcblkp0
source ./
./my_first_accel binary_container_1.xclbin


And that's it. we have now successfully tested the application.