The field programmable gate array (FPGA) is appealing as a computational platform because of its ability to be repurposed for a number of different applications and its relatively low design cost. Traditionally, FPGA vendors provide a set of electronic design automation (EDA) tools to assist customers with the implementation of their designs. These tools are necessarily general purpose, and the resulting tool flow does not provide the user much in the way of customization. Frameworks such as RapidSmith and Torc allow for the creation of custom CAD tools that are able to target actual Xilinx FPGA devices. However, they are built on the Xilinx Design Language (XDL), which was discontinued with the introduction of Xilinx's new tool suite Vivado. Instead, Vivado provides direct access to its data structures through a Tcl interface, as well as EDIF and Xilinx Design Constraint (XDC) files. This thesis discusses Vivado's ability to support a custom CAD tool framework similar to RapidSmith and Torc. It provides a detailed description of the CAD-related aspects of Vivado's Tcl API and shows how its command set can be used to integrate a custom CAD tool framework. This is demonstrated through the introduction of Tincr, a suite of two Tcl-based libraries that each encapsulate a separate method for implementing such a framework. The first is the TincrCAD library, a high-level CAD tool framework built within Vivado's Tcl environment. The second is TincrIO, a set of Tcl commands that comprise a file-based interface into Vivado, similar to XDL. These libraries are offered up as evidence that the Vivado Design Suite can provide a foundation for the implementation of custom CAD tools that operate on Xilinx FPGAs for the foreseeable future.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





FPGA, Vivado, Tcl, CAD tool, Tincr, RapidSmith, Xilinx