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* and Questa* Simulators, and the DESim application software. 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 may be 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, or the Questa*-Intel FPGA Edition software (see below).
ModelSim and Questa are widely-used simulators for VHDL and Verilog code. You can download these simulators from Intel® along with your selected version of the Quartus Prime software (see above). Quartus Prime releases before version 21 include the ModelSim simulator, and Quartus Prime releases starting with version 21 include the Questa simulator. Each of these software packages can be downloaded and installed as part of a Quartus Prime release, or they can alternatively be downloaded as individual files and installed separately via Intel's software download webpages. The Quartus Prime Lite releases prior to version 21 include the ModelSim-Intel FPGA Starter Edition software, which does not require a license to be used. Quartus Prime Lite releases starting with version 21 include the Questa-Intel FPGA Edition software, which requires a free annual license that you can obtain from Intel.
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" to a simulator for logic circuits. Inputs to the logic circuit 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). The source code for the DESim application software can be found on 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.
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 the like.
The CPUlator tool, which is free to use, is available from cpulator.01xz.net/.