Xtensa Simulator (xt-run)


The Xtensa Simulator (xt-run) is a proprietary Xtensa toolchain used to run Xtensa ELFs. This guide assumes that you have correctly installed it and the core for your platform. It describes how to use xt-run.

Running the simulation for your platform requires that the core is set with the XTENSA_CORE environment variable (just like xt-xcc). If you can successfully build the firmware with the xt-xcc compiler, then everything is set up.

Standalone programs

Development with xt-xcc and xt-run is similiar to the usual development of *nix programs.

Begin with a “Hello World!” example. Save this snippet as test.c:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
     printf("Hello World!\n");
     return 0;

In order to run this program, first build Xtensa ELF with xt-xcc:

xt-xcc test.c -o test

Next, run the output binary with xt-run:

xt-run test

You can run any code independently like this, such as for testing some algorithms.

Progams that run in xt-run additionally support stdlib (not available in the usual FW) so you can use stdio to print your output. All core-specific features are also supported by xt-run so you can use intrinsics (such as HiFi3) in your C programs.

Unit tests

In the SOF project, xt-run is used as the executor for unit tests.

The below example shows how you can add a simple unit test case for a sample function: my_add in the math module.

First, add a function that is going to be the subject of the unit test:

Code Block 8 src/include/sof/math/numbers.h
int my_add(int a, int b);
Code Block 9 src/math/numbers.c
int my_add(int a, int b)
     return a + b;

Next, add the unit test implementation:

Code Block 10 test/cmocka/src/math/numbers/my_add.c
// header with function that we test
#include <sof/math/numbers.h>

// standard headers that have to be included in every cmocka's unit test
#include <stdarg.h>
#include <stddef.h>
#include <setjmp.h>
#include <stdint.h>
#include <cmocka.h>

// one of test cases
static void my_add_2_plus_3_equals_5(void **state)
     int result;


     result = my_add(2, 3);
     assert_int_equal(result, 5);

int main(void)
     // list of all test cases, here we have just 1
     const struct CMUnitTest tests[] = {


     return cmocka_run_group_tests(tests, NULL, NULL);

Use a single file for every function that is unit-tested; this is why we put code in the my_add.c file in the test/cmocka/src/math/numbers directory.

Lastly, let CMake know that the unit test exists:

Code Block 11 test/cmocka/src/math/numbers/CMakeLists.txt

To run unit tests, follow the instructions at Unit Tests.

If you want to run just your test case (instead of all tests), you can replace:

make -j4 && ctest -j8


make my_add && ctest -R my_add

Logs from running ctest can be found in Testing/Temporary/LastTest.log.