This document captures the methods, verification environment architectures and tools used to verify the first multiple members CORE-V family of RISC-V cores.

Together with its Member Companies, the OpenHW Group executes a complete, industrial grade pre-silicon verification of CORE-V IP, primarily CORE-V cores, including their execution environment [1].


Copyright 2020, 2021 OpenHW Group.

The document is licensed under the Solderpad Hardware License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this document except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at:

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, products distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.

See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

CORE-V Projects

The core-v-verif project is being developed to verify multiple CORE-V cores. The cores themselves are in their own git repositories. Below are links to the RTL sources and documentation for CORE-V cores in development as of 2024-05-15:

The OpenHW Group also maintains the following repositories for stand-alone verification components:

  • FORCE-RISCV Instruction stream generator denotated by Futurewei.

Definition of Terms




Board Support Package. A set of support files, such as a C runtime configuration (crt0.S), linker control script (link.ld), etc. that are used to define the software envrionment used by a test-program.


A Contributor who has privileges to approve and merge pull-requests into OpenHW Group GitHub repositories.


An employee of a Member Company that has been assigned to work on an OpenHW Group project.


A family of RISC-V cores developed by the OpenHW Group.


Executable and Linkable Format, is a common standard file format for executable files. The RISC-V GCC toolchain compiles C and/or RISC-V Assembly source files into ELF files.

Instruction Set Simulator (ISS)

A behavioural model of a CPU. An ISS can execute the same code as a real CPU and will produce the same logical results as the real thing. Typically only “ISA visible” state, such as GPRs and CSRs are modelled, and any internal pipelines of the CPU are abstracted away.

Member Company (MemberCo)

A company or organization that signs-on with the OpenHW Group and contributes resources (capital, people, infrastructure, software tools etc.) to the CORE-V verification project.


A set of software tools used to compile C and/or RISC-V assembler code into an executable format.


In UVM verification environments, a testbench is a SystemVerilog module that instantiates the device under test plus the SystemVerilog Interfaces that connect to the environment object. In common usage “testbench” can also have the same meaning as verification environment.


In the context of the CORE-V UVM verification environment, a a testcase is distinct from a test-program. A testcase is extended from the uvm_test class and is used to control the the UVM environment at run-time.

In core-v-verif a testcase _may_ be aware of the test-program.


A software program, written in C or RISC-V assembly, that executes on the simulated RTL model of a core. Test-Programs may be manually written or machine generated (e.g. riscv-dv).

In core-v-verif a test-program is not aware of the UVM testcase.


Test-program Environment. A less widely used term for BSP.

Verification Environment

An object constructed from a SystemVerilog class that is an extension of uvm_environment. In common usage “verification environment” can also mean the environment object plus all of its members.


Local path of a cloned working directory of this GitHub repository. An example to illustrate:

[prompt]$ cd /wrk/rick/openhw

[prompt]$ git clone

Here $CORE_V_VERIF is /wrk/rick/openhw/core-v-verif. Note that this is not a variable the user is required to set. Its use in this document is merely used as a reference point for an absolute path to your working directory.


Shell and Make variable identifying a specific CORE-V core. The most often used example in this document is CV32E40P.

Conventions Used in this Document

Bold type is used for emphasis.

Filenames and filepaths are in italics: ./cv32e40p/

CORE-V Genealogy

The first two projects within the OpenHW Group’s CORE-V family of RISC-V cores are the CV32E40P and CVA6. Currently, two variants of the CV32E40P are defined: the CV32E40X and CV32E40S. The OpenHW Group’s work builds on several RISC-V open-source projects, particularly the RI5CY and Ariane projects from PULP-Platform. CV32E40P is a derivation of the RI5CY project [2], and CVA6 is derived from Ariane [3]. In addition, the verification environment for CORE-V leverages previous work done by lowRISC and others for the Ibex project, which is a fork of the PULP-Platform’s zero-riscy core.

This is germane to this discussion because the architecture and implement of the verification environments for both CV32E40P and CVA6 are strongly influenced by the development history of these cores. This is discussed in more detailed in PULP-Platform Simulation Verification.

A Note About EDA Tools

The CORE-V family of cores are open-source, under the terms of the Solderpad Hardware License, Version 2.0. This does not imply that the tools required to develop, verify and implement CORE-V cores are themselves open-source. This applies to both the EDA tools such as simulators, and specific verification components, such as Instruction Set Simulators.

Often asked questions are “which tools does OpenHW support?”, or “can I use an open-source simulator to compile/run a CORE-V testbench?”. The short answer is that the CORE-V testbenches require the use of IEEE-1800 (2017) or newer SystemVerilog tools and that this almost certainly means that non-commercial, open-source Verilog and SystemVerilog compiler/simulators will not be able to compile/run a CORE-V testbench.

CORE-V verification projects are intended to meet the needs of Industrial users and will therefore use the tools and methodologies currently in wide-spread industrial use, such as the full SystemVerilog language, UVM-1.2, SVA, plus code, functional and assertion coverage. For these reasons users of CORE-V verification environments will need to have access to commercial simulation and/or formal verification tools.

The “core” testbench of the CV32E40P can be compiled/simulated using Verilator, an open-source software tool which translates a subset of the SystemVerilog language to a C++ or SystemC cycle-accurate behavioural model. Note that “core” testbench is not considered a production verification environment that is capable of fully verifying the CORE-V cores. The purpose of the “core” testbench is to support software teams wishing to run test-programs in a simulation environment.