Binary Formats


xclbin container format (also known as AXLF) is defined in file xclbin.h. The file uses xclbin2 as the magic word. AXLF is sections based extensible container. Different sections store different parts of compiled application like bitstreams for PL (FPGA fabric), ELF for AIE tiles and embedded processors like Microblaze. It also contains well structured metadata to define memory topology, IP layout of instantiated peripherals and compute kernels, clocking details and kernel connectivity for each compute kernel.

The compiler generates unique xclbin file tagged with UUID for every application compiled. Each xclbin also has a another UUID which defines its compatbility to the Shell. Vitis compiler, v++ generates this file as part of linking stage. End-users load this file via XRT xclLoadXclbin() API. XRT userspace and kernel space components consume different sections of xclbin by programming the hardware and initializing key data structures in XRT userspace libraries and XRT kernel drivers.

xclbins can also be signed. More information can be found in Security of Alveo Platform.

The path to xclbin.h is xrt/include/xclbin.h inside XRT installation directory.

XRT provides a very powerful utility, xclbinutil which can be used to read/write/change xclbins. More information can be found in the section on xclbinutil

Feature ROM

Feature ROM is like a BIOS like table for FPGA which describes key properties of the device like its name and features enabled in the Shell of the platform. The format for the data in Feature ROM is defined in file xclfeatures.h. It a section of memory mapped BRAM memory which can be used for data sharing, error checking, functionality discovery in Alveo platforms. Vivado tools will programmatically capture and populate BRAM memory in the platform during platform creation time. Runtime components like drivers read it and enable functionality in driver and also use the information to perform hardware/software compatibility checks.

The path to xclfeatures.h is xrt/include/xclfeatures.h inside XRT installation directory.