The FPGAcademy tutorials and laboratory exercises rely on various software tools. For Digital Logic, the main tools are the Intel® Quartus® Prime CAD system, the ModelSim* Simulator, and the DESim application. The Computer Organization material also relies somewhat on Quartus Prime, but mostly depends on the Monitor Program and the CPUlator tool. Embedded Systems relies on a special distribution of Linux, which comes with various software development tools. The Compute Acceleration materials require a licensed version of Quartus Prime that is available via the Intel® DevCloud.

The Intel® Quartus® Prime software is a complete CAD system for the design of logic circuits using Intel® FPGAs. We recommend downloading and using the Quartus® Prime® Lite version, because it does not require a license. This software can be downloaded from Intel (registration with Intel is required). When downloading Quartus Prime you should choose a specific version that matches your selected Release version on the FPGAcademy Tutorials, Courses, and other pages. You should download both the Quartus Prime tools as well as the ModelSim-Intel FPGA Edition software (see below).

ModelSim is a widely-used simulator for VHDL and Verilog code. You can download the ModelSim-Intel FPGA Edition software from Intel® along with Quartus Prime software (see above).

The DESim application provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that represents some of the features of a DE-series board. This GUI serves as a "front end" for the ModelSim simulator, which is used for the simulation of logic circuits. Using the DESim GUI you can invoke both the ModelSim Verilog compiler and simulator. Inputs to the ModelSim simulator can be provided by clicking on features in the DESim GUI, which also shows results produced by the simulator on displays that look like the ones on the DE-series board. The DESim application software is especially useful when a logic circuit designer does not have access to a physical DE-series board (for example in a distance-learning environment). You can obtain the DESim application software from GitHub.

The Monitor Program is a complete software development environment for the ARM* Cortex*-A9 processor and Nios II processor. You can develop both assembly-language and C code on DE-series boards using the Monitor Program. It includes compilation tools as well as full debugging features, such as breakpoints, single-stepping, register and variable display, and so on. You can select a specific version of the Monitor Program below. Download and install the Monitor Program version that matches your version of the Quartus Prime software.

Monitor Program Installer Downloads
Installer for Windows EXE
Installer for Linux TAR

The CPUlator is a standalone web-based tool that provides a full-featured, easy-to-use simulator/emulator environment for ARM, Nios II, and MIPS processors. The CPUlator provides assemblers, compilers, and powerful debugging features that support the development of both assembly language and C programs. The CPUlator simulates the operation of a processor, memory, and many other features of a DE-series board, such as LEDs, slider and pushbutton switches, seven-segment displays, video, audio ports, and so on.

The CPUlator tool, which is free to use, is available from