The pynq.allocate function is used to allocate memory that will be used by IP in the programmable logic.

IP connected to the AXI Master (HP or ACP ports) has access to PS DRAM. Before IP in the PL accesses DRAM, some memory must first be allocated (reserved) for the IP to use and the size, and address of the memory passed to the IP. An array in Python, or Numpy, will be allocated somewhere in virtual memory. The physical memory address of the allocated memory must be provided to IP in the PL.

pynq.allocate allocates memory which is physically contiguous and returns a pynq.Buffer object representing the allocated buffer. The buffer is a numpy array for use with other Python libraries and also provides a .device_address property which contains the physical address for use with IP. For backwards compatibility a .physical_address property is also provided

The allocate function uses the same signature as numpy.ndarray allowing for any shape and data-type supported by numpy to be used with PYNQ.


The Buffer object returned is a sub-class of numpy.ndarray with additional properties and methods suited for use with the programmable logic.

  • device_address is the address that should be passed to the programmable logic to access the buffer
  • coherent is True if the buffer is cache-coherent between the PS and PL
  • flush flushes a non-coherent or mirrored buffer ensuring that any changes by the PS are visible to the PL
  • invalidate invalidates a non-coherent or mirrored buffer ensuring any changes by the PL are visible to the PS
  • sync_to_device is an alias to flush
  • sync_from_device is an alias to invalidate


Create a contiguous array of 5 32-bit unsigned integers

from pynq import allocate
input_buffer = allocate(shape=(5,), dtype='u4')

device_address property of the buffer


Writing data to the buffer:

input_buffer[:] = range(5)

Flushing the buffer to ensure the updated data is visible to the programmable logic:


More information about memory allocation can be found in the pynq.buffer Module section in the library reference.