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Field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based systems provide advantages over conventional hardware including: (1) availability of the hardware during design and debug; (2) programmability; and (3) visibility. These three advantages can greatly shorten the design and verification cycle. This paper discusses a design environment that exploits these three FPGA-specific advantages to create a unified simulation/execution debug environment implemented in the JHDL design system. The described system provides a hardware debugging environment with the functionality of a simulator but up to 10000/spl times/ faster. In addition, testbenches and other typical verification software used in simulators can be used to verify running hardware.