Visual System Integrator: Quick Start

This Quick Start will describe how to create a simple system using Visual System Integrator.

Start the VSI software

To start the tool just type:

${VSI_INSTALL} – path to VSI installation
HOST_TYPE – linux.x86_64 | windows.x86_64

Import Existing platform

In this guide we will import an existing platform.

  1. Quick Start > Open Example Project
  2. Choose a name, location, and a default Xilinx board for your project.
  3. Select zynq from platform_list. This will create a Platform with two “Execution Contexts” . A Software context “zynq_ps” and a Hardware context “zynq_pl”.
  4. Click Flow > Compile Platform to compile the platform.

Application System Canvas

  1. Clicking Flow > Create System to create an “Application Canvas”. This will create a blank “System Canvas”.
  2. Clicking Flow > Import Platform to import the platform definition. After importing the platform, the execution contexts show up as blank entities.

Develop Application

1. Import a Block From Library:

  • Double click anywhere in the software context enter into it.
  • Right-Click and select “Add IP“.
  • Select “VSI TCP Server v1.0”.
    This will place the TCP/IP server in the System Canvas.

2. Import C/C++ code

We will use the “Software Import Wizard” to import a “sort” function as a block.

  • Right-click and select “Add IP”
  • Select “VSI Software Import Wizard”.
  • Double-Click on vsi_gen_ip_0 to import the “sort” C function.
    • The “Source Directory” box either “Browse” to or enter the directory ${VSI_INSTALL}/target/common/hls_examples/sort
      The “Software Import Wizard” will call a “built-in” C/C++ parser and present drop-down list of functions it finds (C/C++ Function Name).
    • Choose the sort function, and navigate to the “Arguments” section.
      The “Arguments” section will show the two arguments in_arr and out_arr with some default values filled in.
    • Mark in_arr as an “Execution Trigger”; this indicates that the VSI runtime will execute this function whenever data is available in this input interface.
    • Mark the “Direction” of out_arr as “output”. The sort function puts the output into this buffer when it finishes execution.
    • Change “Access Type” of out_arr to “Random”. The sort algorithm accesses the output array in a non-sequential fashion.
    • Click OK. The interfaces of the block are now updated to reflect the name and direction specified in the “Arguments” section.

3. Make connection between graphical blocks

  • Connect the server_data_out interface of the TCP/IP server to the in_arr interface of the vsi_gen_ip_0 .
  • Connect the out_arr interface of the vsi_gen_ip_0 block to the server_data_in interface of the TCP/IP server .

Build Application

  1. With the System Canvas open Click on Flow > Generate System
  2. Build the High-Level Synthesis blocks by clicking on Flow > Build HLS
  3. Build the executables for Software Contexts by clicking on Flow > Build Software Contexts .
  4. Building the Hardware Project by clicking on Flow > Build Hardware.

This completes the build process for the example project.

Execute Application

The following steps showing how to execute the generated project on a Zynq-SoC Based MicroZed board.

  1. Prerequisites:

    • Build the Linux kernel and root file system for the Board you are using

    • Cloning repository to your home directory

    • Source the xilinx environment settings:

      source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/<vivado_version>/
    • Build the driver:

       make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- ARCH=arm KERNEL_SOURCES=<home_dir>/build/driver_vsi/linux-xlnx
  2. Login to your board and create a directory in the root-file-system, this is an optional step. It will help you isolate the files being copied.

  3. Coppying the following files from the build directory to the target filesystem:

  • The bitstream file. This file can be found at <hw_project_directory>/zynq_pl/zynq_pl.runs/impl_1/zynq_pl_wrapper.bin.1

    For Yocto Linux kernels. The generated Bitstream file is zynq_pl_wrapper.bit that can be found at <hw_project_directory>/zynq_pl/zynq_pl.runs/impl_1/zynq_pl_wrapper.bit .

  • The driver installation script found at <project_dir>/vsi_auto_gen/sw/<software_context_name>/


  • The Software Executable <project_dir>/vsi_auto_gen/sw/build/<software_context_name>/bin/<software_context_name>


  • The device driver “vsi_driver.ko” created in the previous step.