Chapter 13

Testing, Tuning and Debugging

In any application, it is the fortunate developer who can get the system to function as desired on its first attempt. Inevitably, there are errors in either the design or implementation that require the algorithm to be tuned or debugged.

There are four main causes for an algorithm not behaving in the intended manner that are addressed briefly in this chapter. These are:

  • Design errors This encompasses a range of issues including faulty logic and the algorithm being unsuitable or not sufficiently robust for the task. A rigorous design process should eliminate such errors before reaching the FPGA implementation stage. However, many development applications follow a less formal design-as-you-go process, where such design errors can be expected!
  • Implementation errors Syntax errors such as spelling mistakes, incorrect operations and misplaced parentheses will usually (but not always) fail to compile. More subtle errors result from the implementation not matching the design. These include errors in the mapping of operations onto the FPGA, such as not correctly taking into account the latency. Particular problems can relate to conflicts between subsystems working in parallel.
  • Tuning errors In this class, the algorithm is basically correct, but the parameters are such that it does not behave in the intended manner. Tuning involves finding the set of parameters that gives the best performance.
  • Timing errors These result from the algorithm being ...

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