A floating-point unit (FPU), also referred to as numeric co-processor, is a dedicated processing unit that manipulates numbers more quickly than the basic microprocessor circuit. The FPU does this by means of instructions that focus entirely on large mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division etc. The F-extension added in user project area, also referred to as FPU is capable to perform floating point addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square-root and fused multiplication.The block diagram is shown in figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Integration of FPU with Caravel SoC


FPU Architecture

The designed floating-point unit (FPU) is fully compliant with the IEEE-754 standard. It flags all five exceptions explained in subsection xx during result calculation as guided by IEEE-754 spec and has support to round result as per the five rounding modes. Additionally support for dynamic rounding is also added as indicated in RISC-V specifications. The rounding modes are explained in table 1.1. For being compliant with RISC-V F-Extension the unit is capable of performing basic arithmetic operations like comparison, addition, subtraction and multiplication. Moreover, the support for certain complex operations like division, square root of a number and computation of fused multiply-add. Certain other computational operations like integer to float conversion, float to integer conversion, computation of minimum and maximum of the two numbers along with sign injection is added. Caravel SoC core acts as a Wishbone master providing IP with control signals like data, address, cycle and strobe. The signals write FPU CSRs (explained in section 1.2.1) are decoded to provide information including operand A, operand B and operand C. Additionally, the operation that is to be performed and the rounding mode to be used are also provided. The selected module performs operation and the output result is written to an FPU CSR along with the exceptions flagged. The result and exceptions are then forwarded by wb_s to the core when requested.

Figure 1.2: Interface of FPU with wishbone interface

Rounding Mode Abbreviation Encoding
Round to Nearest, ties to Even RNE 000
Round towards Zero RTZ 001
Round Down (towards - inf) RDM 010
Round Up (towards + inf) RUP 011
Round to Nearest, ties to Max Magnitude RMM 100

The default rounding mode for all the operations is RNE as highlighted by RISC-V and IEEE-754 spec.


FPU Exceptions

FPU can flag five exceptions depending upon the result during computation. 1. Invalid operation (NV) The exception is raised if the operation performed is mathematically incorrect. 2. Divide by zero (DZ) This exception is flagged only by division module and as the name suggests it is raised when the divider is zero. 3. Overflow (OF) If the computed result exceeds the maximum re-presentable range of single precision the exception is raised. 4. Underflow (UF) If the result is smaller than the minimum representation of the single precision then UF exception is set high. 5. Inexact (NX) Whenever the data cannot be expressed accurately after rounding, the exception is raised.


Integration of FPU as Memory Mapped Peripheral


Wishbone Interface

A memory mapped peripheral is a hardware device with a specific address range in memory that the core writes data to and reads data from. FPU is integrated with the core using Wishbone interface. The core acts as a master while IP acts as a wb_s. A valid signal is sent from the interface to IP following which the IP starts operation depending on the instruction from core. Once the IP has performed the operation, it sets acknowledge ack indicating that operation is completed. The unit is controlled via set of control and status registers (CSRs) that are explained later in this document.


Logic Analyzer

Logic analyzer is used to operate the FPU externally for debugging pupose. FPU CSRs can be read/written by giving CSR address and data at logic analyzer input probes. Moreover, FPU unit can be operated through external clock and reset using logic analyzer input probes. Output data appears at the lower 32 bits of logic analyzer output probes.



Result of FPU calculation also appers at the 32 GPIO pins.


CSRs for FPU

An overview of the CSRs implemented and their memory mapping is presented in the table

CSR Access Type Offset
Operand A Read/Write 0x00
Operand B Read/Write 0x04
Operand C Read/Write 0x08
Result Read 0x0C
Operation Completed Read 0x10
Operation Done Read/Clear 0x14
Operation Read/Write 0x1C
FFLAGS Read/Write 0x20
FRM Read/Write 0x24
FCSR Read/Write 0x28

All the CSRs are located in the user design space with the base address of 0x3000_0000 + the offset described in table 1.2. The description of CSRs can be seen in following table

Field Width Description
Operand A 32-bit Input operand A
Operand B 32-bit Input operand B
Operand C 32-bit Input operand C
Result 32-bit Result of the operation

The CSR operation completed holds a 2-bit value at bits 1 down to 0 that specifies the float to int, int to float, add/subtract, MAC, min-max, compare and sign injection operation. This CSR also holds an 11-bit value that shows which arithmetic operation has been completed. The encoding of the fields can be seen in the following table

Field Width Description
OP 2-bit float to int:
    00 -> unsigned
    01 -> signed
int to float:
    00 -> unsigned
    01 -> signed
    00 -> add
    01 -> subtract
    00 -> FMADD
    01 -> FMSUB
    10 -> FNMADD
    11 -> FNMSUB
    00 -> min
    01 -> max
    00 -> LTE
    01 -> LT
    10 -> EQ
sign injection
    00 -> FSGNJ
    01 -> FSGNJN
    10 -> FSGNJX
Operation In-flight 11-bit 02 -> f-class
03 -> sign inject
04 -> compare
05 -> min-max
06 -> int to float
07 -> float to int
08 -> add/sub
09 -> multiply
10 -> mac
11 -> divide
12 -> square root

The CSR operation also holds the same encoding as CSR operation completed in ablove table which controls the operation to be performed. The CSR operation done holds a single bit that gets set high when an operation completes. This can be seen in table below

Field Width Description
Operation Done 1-bit Signifies completion of

FFLAGS and FRM are both fields of FCSR that can be individually accessed with dedicated addresses. FFLAGS hold a 5-bit value that corresponds to the exceptions raised by the operation performed. FRM holds a 3-bit value to representing the rounding mode to be used. The encoding for these fields can be seen in table

Field Width Description
FFLAGS 5-bit 0 -> inexact
1 -> underflow
2 -> overflow
3 -> divide by zero
4 -> invalid operation
FRM 3-bit encoding in table xx


Instruction Flow

The instruction to any memory mapped peripheral is merely a load or store instruction. To perform any operation the following steps are required: 1. Write each operand with a store instruction to the core. 2. Write FRM to set the rounding mode to be used with a store instruction. 3. Operation to be performed is also specified by a store instruction. 4. Once the operation is completed it can be accessed by the core from result CSR with a load instruction

If you are collaborating on this project, please click here to access your collaboration files, and click "Accept Share" in the actions column if you haven't done so already.

project layout image
project layout image
Layout Image


Organization URL



Caravel_FPU integrates floating point unit with Caravel Core. It is capable of doing floating point arithmetic through integer instructions. It also generates exceptions which can be handled by the core through ISR.



Shuttle Tags

Open MPW


Last MPW Precheck


06/27/21 23:56:34 PDT