Using HLS Streams - 2023.2 English

Vitis High-Level Synthesis User Guide (UG1399)

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2023.2 English

To use hls::stream<> objects in your code include the header file hls_stream.h as shown below. Streaming data objects are defined by specifying the type and variable name. In this example, a 128-bit unsigned integer type is defined and used to create a stream variable called my_wide_stream.

#include "ap_int.h"
#include "hls_stream.h"

typedef ap_uint<128> uint128_t;  // 128-bit user defined type
hls::stream<uint128_t> my_wide_stream;  // A stream declaration

Streams must use scoped naming. AMD recommends using the scoped hls:: naming shown in the example above. However, if you want to use the hls namespace, you can rewrite the preceding example as:

#include <ap_int.h>
#include <hls_stream.h>
using namespace hls;

typedef ap_uint<128> uint128_t;  // 128-bit user defined type
stream<uint128_t> my_wide_stream;  // hls:: no longer required

Given a stream specified as hls::stream<T>, the type T can be:

  • Any C++ native data type
  • A Vitis HLS arbitrary precision type (for example, ap_int<>, ap_ufixed<>)
  • A user-defined struct containing either of the above types
Note: General user-defined classes (or structures) that contain methods (member functions) should not be used as the type (T) for a stream variable.

A stream can also be specified as hls::stream<Type, Depth>, where Depth indicates the depth of the FIFO needed in the verification adapter that the HLS tool creates for RTL co-simulation.

Streams can be optionally named. Providing a name for the stream allows the name to be used in reporting. For example, Vitis HLS automatically checks to ensure all elements from an input stream are read during simulation. Given the following two streams:

hls::stream<uint8_t> bytestr_in1;
hls::stream<uint8_t> bytestr_in2("input_stream2");

Any warning on elements of the streams are reported as follows, where it is clear that input_stream2 refers to bytestr_in2:

WARNING: Hls::stream 'hls::stream<unsigned char>.1' contains leftover data, which 
may result in RTL simulation hanging.
WARNING: Hls::stream 'input_stream2' contains leftover data, which may result in RTL 
simulation hanging.

When streams are passed into and out of functions, they must be passed-by-reference as in the following example:

void stream_function (
      hls::stream<uint8_t> &strm_out,
      hls::stream<uint8_t> &strm_in,
     uint16_t strm_len

Streaming examples are provided in the Vitis-HLS-Introductory-Examples repository on GitHub, under Interface/Streaming. Additional design examples using streams are provided in the Vitis_Accel_Examples also on GitHub.

Vitis HLS also supports both blocking and non-blocking access methods for hls::stream objects, as described in the following sections.