FPGA & Verilog for beginners

(This is an English re-edition of the FPGA workshops at /tmp/lab)


  • Presentation of FPGA technology
  • Getting started with design tools
  • Verilog introduction
  • Hands-on: basic functions + implementation of a small audio generator

If time allows :

  • Simulation techniques
  • VHDL overview for those who wish

Pages from the previous workshops (in French) :

FPGA boards needed, please bring your development kits or any board that has an FPGA for those who have (even if you don't come to the workshop). Thank you !

There is no guarantee on the number of available boards. Bring your own board if you want to be sure to be able to participate.


  1. Bring your laptop, preferably with Linux. Try to get one with a good screen resolution, lots of RAM, at least 2GB of free disk space and a fast CPU, as the FPGA tools are pretty resource-intensive. Also, the FPGA tools are x86 only.
  2. Bring an FPGA board with some LEDs and switches. Any manufacturer (Altera, Xilinx, Lattice, …) although Xilinx is preferred (you don't have to pay for the Linux license). There will hopefully be some spare boards, but bring your own to make sure you will be able to participate.
  3. Bring any required JTAG or power supply cables.
  4. Set up programming software from the FPGA manufacturer. For Xilinx boards, you can download "ISE Webpack" from http://www.xilinx.com/tools/webpack.htm. Warning! Big files and slow installation.

Suggested boards

You can (and should) bring your own board if you already have one, but if you plan on buying one here are some suggestions :

  1. Spartan 3A Evaluation Kit ($49) with PSoC : http://www.em.avnet.com/spartan3a-evl / JTAG cable not required. For programming this one, check out http://code.google.com/p/avs3a/.
  2. Spartan-6 FPGA SP601 Evaluation Kit ($295) : http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/EK-S6-SP601-G.htm / JTAG cable not required. The latest FPGAs from Xilinx.
  3. Spartan 3E Sample Pack (?) : http://www.nuhorizons.com/products/xilinx/spartan3e/samplepack.html / JTAG cable required
  4. Spartan 3E Starter Kit ($149) : http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/HW-SPAR3E-SK-US-G.htm / JTAG cable not required
  5. Spartan 3A Starter Kit ($189) : http://www.xilinx.com/products/devkits/HW-SPAR3A-SK-UNI-G.htm / JTAG cable included


This workshop is quite intensive, so there will be a preparation in the morning to make sure all attendants have working installations on their computers. Absolutely no exception will be made, so better check the preparation workshop! The workshop itself requires that every attendant is ready to work. Come to the preparation if you are not sure about your installation and/or if you have an "exotic" board.