Behavior of HLS Functions on Blocking Calls - 2022.1 English

Vitis Model Composer User Guide (UG1483)

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2022.1 English

An HLS function first and foremost is a function. It has a predetermined number of inputs and outputs and every time the function is invoked, it consumes the inputs and produces the predetermined number of outputs. If an HLS function imported using xmcImportFunction hangs, (for example, if it has an infinite loop), Simulink will also hang, waiting indefinitely for the output from the imported block. This is because an imported HLS function using xmcImportFunction runs on the same thread as Simulink. If the imported functions hangs, Simulink also hangs.

HLS Kernels are IPs

When you import an HLS function into a design by itself, the HLS function will not operate as an IP with streaming ports. In Vitis Model Composer, you need to enclose the HLS function in a subsystem (perhaps along with other HLS blocks) and use the Interface Spec block to designate streaming ports for the design. You can then generate an HLS IP. Unlike an imported HLS function, an HLS Kernel is a proper HLS IP that can be used in the Vitis™ HLS and be synthesized directly. The following code snippet highlights the HLS kernel code with streaming interface.

void hls_kernel_blk(
    hls::stream<ap_axis<64, 0, 0, 0> > & in_sample1,
    hls::stream<ap_axis<64, 0, 0, 0> > & in_sample2,
    hls::stream<ap_axis<64, 0, 0, 0> > & out0_itr1,
    hls::stream<ap_axis<64, 0, 0, 0> > & out1_itr1
    #pragma HLS PIPELINE II=1
    #pragma HLS INTERFACE ap_ctrl_none port=return
    #pragma HLS INTERFACE axis register both port=out1_itr1
    #pragma HLS INTERFACE axis register both port=out0_itr1
    #pragma HLS INTERFACE axis register both port=in_sample1
    #pragma HLS INTERFACE axis register both port=in_sample2
    ap_int64 in_samp0 ; // Iteration-1: 2 complex samples concatenated to 64-bit
    ap_int64 in_samp1 ; // Iteration-2: 2 complex samples concatenated to 64-bit

In this example, notice the function signature and also the HLS pragmas specifying the interface on the ports. This function has all the constructs required by the HLS IP. You can directly import the code above into Model Composer using the HLS Kernel block, and then simulate it.

An HLS Kernel block can accept variable size signals allowing it to connect to AI Engine blocks and also produces variable size output signals. Unlike a block that is imported using xmcImportFunction, the HLS Kernel block runs on a separate thread than Simulink and as such, the presence of a blocking read call in the HLS kernel code will not cause Simulink to hang when the input variable size signal is empty, instead the block will also produce an empty variable size output signal.