Getting Started

Filament is a programming language for Fearless Hardware Design. It aims to enable software programmers without much hardware background to start designing performant hardware. At its heart, Filament uses a type system to encode properties important for designing efficient hardware. This guide helps you install the various tools to make Filament work.


Minimal Build

The following commands are sufficient to build the Filament compiler and have it generate Calyx IR. First, we need to configure the Calyx compiler which acts as the backend for Filament.

  • Clone the Calyx repository: git clone and build the Calyx compiler cd calyx && cargo build
  • Clone this repository: git clone

Next, we can install the dependencies for the Filament compiler:

  • Install Rust which will configure the cargo tool.
  • Install z3.
    • On Mac OS: brew install z3.
    • On Ubuntu: apt install z3
  • Build the compiler by running: cargo build in the root of the folder.

To check that the compiler works, run the following command:

cargo run -- tests/compile/par.fil

Which should generate the Calyx IR for the program.

Full Build

In order to generate Verilog, run the test suite, and simulate Filament programs, we need a couple more tools:

  • Install fud which manages hardware tools and makes it easy to test Filament programs.
    • Install flit: python3 -m pip install flit
    • Install fud: cd calyx/fud && flit install -s
    • Check fud was installed: fud check. It will report some tools are missing. This is expected.
  • Configure the fud to use an absolute path for the Calyx compiler:
    • Run the following command from the Calyx repository: cargo build && fud config stages.futil.exec "$(pwd)/target/debug/futil"
    • Run fud check. It should report that the futil is installed correctly.
  • Install Icarus Verilog and configure fud to use it.
    • Running fud check again should report that icarus-verilog was installed correctly.
  • Install cocotb: python3 -m pip install cocotb.
    • Cocotb install can often fail. Check it was installed correctly by running python3 -c "import cocotb; print(cocotb.__version__)". If this command fails, see Debugging Cocotb Installation.
  • Register Filament's fud stages by running the command in the filament repository: fud register -p fud/ filament
    • Run fud check to make sure that the filament stages are correctly installed.
  • Install runt: cargo install runt
  • Install jq
    • On Mac OS: brew install jq
    • On Ubuntu: apt install jq

For a sanity check, run fud check. It should report that iverilog, jq, filament, futil, cocotb are correctly installed.

Once all tools are installed, running the following command should print out the test report:

runt -j 1

Next Steps

Now that we have installed the Filament compiler and accompanying tools, we can start using Filament. Use the following links to learn more about Filament:

Debugging Cocotb Installation

Cocotb requires the python shared library (Mac OS) to work correctly. A common reason for a cocotb installation not working is when this library is missing.

To check if cocotb is able to find the shared library install find_libpython: python3 -m pip install find_libpython.

Next, run the following:

python3 -c "import find_libpython; print(find_libpython.find())"

If the above command does not print out anything, that means that the python library was not found and the python installation needs to be rebuilt.

If you use pyenv, the following command will install a python version with the shared library:

env PYTHON_CONFIGURE_OPTS="--enable-shared" pyenv install 3.10

Rerun the command to check that libpython was found after installing a new python version.