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Assignments

There are multiple assignment operators:

Symbol

Description

:=

Standard assignment, equivalent to <= in VHDL/Verilog.

\=

Equivalent to := in VHDL and = in Verilog. The value is updated instantly in-place.

<>

Automatic connection between 2 signals or two bundles of the same type. Direction is inferred by using signal direction (in/out). (Similar behavior to :=)

When muxing (for instance using when, see When/Switch/Mux.), the last valid standard assignment := wins. Else, assigning twice to the same assignee from the same scope results in an assignment overlap. SpinalHDL will assume this is a unintentional design error by default and halt elaboration with error. For special use-cases assignment overlap can be programatically permitted on a case by case basis. (see Assignment overlap).

val a, b, c = UInt(4 bits)
a := 0
b := a
//a := 1 // this would cause an `assignment overlap` error,
         // if manually overridden the assignment would take assignment priority
c := a

var x = UInt(4 bits)
val y, z = UInt(4 bits)
x := 0
y := x      // y read x with the value 0
x \= x + 1
z := x      // z read x with the value 1

// Automatic connection between two UART interfaces.
uartCtrl.io.uart <> io.uart

It also supports Bundle assignment (convert all bit signals into a single bit-bus of suitable width of type Bits, to then use that wider form in an assignment expression). Bundle multiple signals together using () (Scala Tuple syntax) on both the left hand side and right hand side of an assignment expression.

val a, b, c = UInt(4 bits)
val d       = UInt(12 bits)
val e       = Bits(10 bits)
val f       = SInt(2  bits)
val g       = Bits()

(a, b, c) := B(0, 12 bits)
(a, b, c) := d.asBits
(a, b, c) := (e, f).asBits           // both sides
g         := (a, b, c, e, f).asBits  // and on the right hand side

It is important to understand that in SpinalHDL, the nature of a signal (combinational/sequential) is defined in its declaration, not by the way it is assigned. All datatype instances will define a combinational signal, while a datatype instance wrapped with Reg(...) will define a sequential (registered) signal.

val a = UInt(4 bits)              // Define a combinational signal
val b = Reg(UInt(4 bits))         // Define a registered signal
val c = Reg(UInt(4 bits)) init(0) // Define a registered signal which is
                                  //  set to 0 when a reset occurs

Width checking

SpinalHDL checks that the bit count of the left side and the right side of an assignment matches. There are multiple ways to adapt the width of a given BitVector (Bits, UInt, SInt):

Resizing techniques

Description

x := y.resized

Assign x with a resized copy of y, size inferred from x.

x := y.resize(newWidth)

Assign x with a resized copy of y newWidth bits wide.

x := y.resizeLeft(newWidth)

Assign x with a resized copy of y newWidth bits wide. Pads at the LSB if needed.

All resize methods may cause the resulting width to be wider or narrower than the original width of y. When widening occurs the extra bits are padded with zeros.

The inferred conversion with x.resized is based on the target width on the left hand side of the assignment expression being resolved and obeys the same semantics as y.resize(someWidth). The expression x := y.resized is equivalent to x := y.resize(x.getBitsWidth bits).

While the example code snippets show the use of an assignment statement, the resize family of methods can be chained like any ordinary Scala method.

There is one case where Spinal automatically resizes a value:

// U(3) creates an UInt of 2 bits, which doesn't match the left side (8 bits)
myUIntOf_8bits := U(3)

Because U(3) is a “weak” bit count inferred signal, SpinalHDL widens it automatically. This can be considered to be functionally equivalent to U(3, 2 bits).resized However rest reassured SpinalHDL will do the correct thing and continue to flag an error if the scenario would require narrowing. An error is reported if the literal required 9 bits (e.g. U(0x100)) when trying to assign into myUIntOf_8bits.

Combinatorial loops

SpinalHDL checks that there are no combinatorial loops (latches) in your design. If one is detected, it raises an error and SpinalHDL will print the path of the loop.