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Sci-Compiler

User firmware generator and compiler for CAEN programmable boards

Features
  • Block diagram based user firmware generator and compiler for CAEN programmable boards:
    - DT5495 - V2495 Programmable Logic Unit
    - DT5550 and DT5550W Programmable pulse processing and readout system
  • Automatic VHDL generation starting from logic block and virtual instruments
  • Very simple generation of complex logic: schematics based design
  • Advanced signal processing block: PHA based on Trapezoidal Filter, Charge Integration or Peak Stretcher, 500 ps resolution TDC, Oscilloscope, Digitizer, MCA (DT5550 only)
  • Advanced sequencer Design based on graphical representation of State Machine ideal to implement custom ASIC readout system
  • Automatic drivers, C library and example generation for Windows, Linux and macOS to implement communication between device and PC software through USB, ethernet and VME protocol
child Overview
Overview
SCI(entific) Compiler is windows based software designed to accelerate the implementation of firmware for signal processing in scientific instrumentation and is targeted to generate custom applications for nuclear physics world. SCI-Compiler is an automatic code generator that, starting from a graphical block diagram, generates a VHDL peace of code that implements the required functionality.
SCI-Compiler uses a prebuild library set containing macroblocks with complex functionalities. Each macroblocks could be imagined as a modular instrument (MCA, Oscilloscope, Digitizer, TDC) that the user could connect with each other.
Programming with SCI-Compiler is much more similar to implement an experimental setup than developing a software.

What is Sci-Compiler

The increasing use of programmable logic devices in trigger and data acquisition systems makes clear that having a general purpose platforms and technicians dedicated to the firmware development is becoming more and more important. The advantage of employing programmable logic devices with respect to standard logic modules (like NIM logic modules) is remarkable: a single programmable logic device includes the potentiality of hundreds of thousands of standard logic modules. For the technicians, who usually work with standard logic modules, the use of specific languages like VHDL or Verilog for the firmware development could represent a limitation in the spread of these powerful devices.
We introduce an innovative method to simplify the firmware development. This method is based on a graphical programming interface consisting of ip-cores ad-hoc developed for nuclear physics applications. For instance, any trigger logic could be implemented by connecting specific blocks in the graphical interface, as easily as physically connecting NIM modules in a rack. The SCI-Compiler software allows to develop both purely digital applications, exploiting blocks like scaler, counter, pattern matching, logic analyzer and state machine, and analog processing applications, such as custom multichannel analyzer using charge integration, trapezoidal filter, spectrum and oscilloscope blocks. In addition, the SCI-Compiler software provides the functionality to read and test the ASICs, enabling the user to develop a sequencer for the ASIC control, to acquire data using digital or analog signals and the I2C or SPI programming.
The SCI-Compiler software focuses the attention only on the functional blocks of the application to be implemented and does not require a deep knowledge of the device in use, enabling the employment of programmable logic devices also to users who are not experts in firmware development.
child support
Supported Hardware
SCI-compiler has been designed to generate code for some particular hardware platform designed by CAEN. Presently SCI-Compiler support two platforms:
- DT5495 - V2495 Programmable Logic Unit
- DT5550 Programmable pulse processing and readout system
- DT5550W Weeroc ASIC Development System
The two systems offer a complete solution to implement almost any logic required for signal processing in nuclear physics research.
The V2495 is targeted for pure digital logic systems. It features some hundred of input/output channels and supports different I/O standards and USB/VME/Ethernet communication.
The DT5550 features less I/O interfaces (about 100) but it includes 32 14-bit 80MS/s Analog to Digital converter simultaneously sampling. The DT5550 is a modern Kintex7 FPGA that allows the user to implement outstanding Digital Pulse Processing blocks and very high resolution time tagging. The DT5550W is fully supported by SCI-Compiler as well through a dedicated palette that allows the programming and the readout of supported Weeroc ASICs.