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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The open-source community is a valuable resource for many hobbyists and researchers interested in collaborating and contributing towards publicly available tools. In the area of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) this is no exception. Contributors seek to reverse-engineer the functions of large proprietary FPGA devices. An interesting challenge for open-source FPGA engineers has been reverse-engineering the operation and bitstreams of digital signal processing (DSP) blocks located in FPGAs. SymbiFlow is an open-source FPGA toolchain designed as a free alternative to proprietary computer-aided design tools like Xilinx’s Vivado. For SymbiFlow, mapping logical multipliers to DSP blocks and generating DSP block bitstreams has been left unimplemented for the Artix-7 family of FPGAs. This research seeks to rectify this shortcoming by introducing DSP information for the place and route functions into SymbiFlow. By delving into the SymbiFlow architecture definitions and creating functioning FPGA assembly code (FASM) files for Project X-Ray, a bitstream generator for Artix-7, we have been able to determine the desired output of the open-source Versatile Place & Route tool that will generate a working DSP bitstream. We diagnose and implement changes needed throughout the SymbiFlow toolchain, allowing for DSP design bitstreams to be successfully generated with open-source tools.


First Advisor

Russell Tessier

Second Advisor

Wayne Burleson

Third Advisor

Daniel Holcomb