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Multiway Decision Graphs for Automated Hardware Verification
, 1996
"... Traditional ROBDDbased methods of automated verification suffer from the drawback that they require a binary representation of the circuit. To overcome this limitation we propose a broader class of decision graphs, called Multiway Decision Graphs (MDGs), of which ROBDDs are a special case. With MDG ..."
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Cited by 80 (14 self)
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Traditional ROBDDbased methods of automated verification suffer from the drawback that they require a binary representation of the circuit. To overcome this limitation we propose a broader class of decision graphs, called Multiway Decision Graphs (MDGs), of which ROBDDs are a special case. With MDGs, a data value is represented by a single variable of abstract type, rather than by 32 or 64 boolean variables, and a data operation is represented by an uninterpreted function symbol. MDGs are thus much more compact than ROBDDs, and this greatly increases the range of circuits that can be verified. We give algorithms for MDG manipulation, and for implicit state enumeration using MDGs. We have implemented an MDG package and provide experimental results.
A Formal Model of Asynchronous Communication and Its Use in Mechanically Verifying a Biphase Mark Protocol
 Formal Aspects of Computing
, 1992
"... In this paper we present a formal model of asynchronous communication as a function in the BoyerMoore logic. The function transforms the signal stream generated by one processor into the signal stream consumed by an independently clocked processor. This transformation "blurs" edges and &q ..."
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Cited by 36 (5 self)
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In this paper we present a formal model of asynchronous communication as a function in the BoyerMoore logic. The function transforms the signal stream generated by one processor into the signal stream consumed by an independently clocked processor. This transformation "blurs" edges and "dilates" time due to differences in the phases and rates of the two clocks and the communications delay. The model can be used quantitatively to derive concrete performance bounds on asynchronous communications at ISO protocol level 1 (physical level). We develop part of the reusable formal theory that permits the convenient application of the model. We use the theory to show that a biphase mark protocol can be used to send messages of arbitrary length between two asynchronous processors. We study two versions of the protocol, a conventional one which uses cells of size 32 cycles and an unconventional one which uses cells of size 18. Our proof of the former protocol requires the ratio of the clock rates of the two processors to be within 3% of unity. The unconventional biphase mark protocol permits the ratio to vary by 5%. At nominal clock rates of 20MHz, the unconventional protocol allows transmissions at a burst rate of slightly over 1MHz. These claims are formally stated in terms of our model of asynchrony; the proofs of the claims have been mechanically checked with the BoyerMoore theorem prover, NQTHM. We conjecture that the protocol can be proved to work under our model for smaller cell sizes and more divergent clock rates but the proofs would be harder. Known inadequacies of our model include that (a) distortion due to the presence of an edge is limited to the time span of the cycle during which the edge was written, (b) both clocks are assumed to be linear functions of time (i....
Formally Verifying a Microprocessor Using a Simulation Methodology
, 1994
"... Formal verification is becoming a useful means of validating designs. We have developed a methodology for formally verifying dataintensive circuits (e.g., processors) with sophisticated timing (e.g., pipelining) against highlevel declarative specifications. Previously, formally verifying a micropro ..."
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Cited by 32 (5 self)
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Formal verification is becoming a useful means of validating designs. We have developed a methodology for formally verifying dataintensive circuits (e.g., processors) with sophisticated timing (e.g., pipelining) against highlevel declarative specifications. Previously, formally verifying a microprocessor required the use of an automatic theorem prover, but our technique requires little more than a symbolic simulator. We have formally verified a preexisting 16bit CISC microprocessor circuit extracted from the fabricated layout. Introduction Previously, symbolic switchlevel simulation has been used to verify some small or simple dataintensive circuits (RAMs, stacks, register files, ALUs, and simple pipelines) [2, 3]. In doing so, the necessary simulation patterns were developed by hand or by using adhoc techniques, and it was then argued that the patterns were sufficient, and that their generation could be automated. We have developed sufficient theory to fully support such claims...
Structuring and Automating Hardware Proofs in a HigherOrder TheoremProving Environment
 Formal Methods in System Design
, 1993
"... . In this article we present a structured approach to formal hardware verification by modelling circuits at the registertransfer level using a restricted form of higherorder logic. This restricted form of higherorder logic is sufficient for obtaining succinct descriptions of hierarchically design ..."
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Cited by 23 (8 self)
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. In this article we present a structured approach to formal hardware verification by modelling circuits at the registertransfer level using a restricted form of higherorder logic. This restricted form of higherorder logic is sufficient for obtaining succinct descriptions of hierarchically designed registertransfer circuits. By exploiting the structure of the underlying hardware proofs and limiting the form of descriptions used, we have attained nearly complete automation in proving the equivalences of the specifications and implementations. A hardwarespecific tool called MEPHISTO converts the original goal into a set of simpler subgoals, which are then automatically solved by a generalpurpose, firstorder prover called FAUST. Furthermore, the complete verification framework is being integrated within a commercial VLSI CAD framework. Keywords: hardware verification, higherorder logic 1 Introduction The past decade has witnessed the spiralling of interest within the academic com...
FORMAL HARDWARE VERIFICATION BY SYMBOLIC TRAJECTORY EVALUATION
, 1997
"... Formal verification uses a set of languages, tools, and techniques to mathematically reason about the correctness of a hardware system. The form of mathematical reasoning is dependent upon the hardware system. This thesis concentrates on hardware systems that have a simple deterministic highlevel s ..."
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Cited by 19 (1 self)
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Formal verification uses a set of languages, tools, and techniques to mathematically reason about the correctness of a hardware system. The form of mathematical reasoning is dependent upon the hardware system. This thesis concentrates on hardware systems that have a simple deterministic highlevel specification but have implementations that exhibit highly nondeterministic behaviors. A typical example of such hardware systems are processors. At the high level, the sequencing model inherent in processors is the sequential execution model. The underlying implementation, however, uses features such as nondeterministic interface protocols, instruction pipelines, and multiple instruction issue which leads to nondeterministic behaviors. The goal is to develop a methodology with which a designer can show that a circuit fulfills the abstract specification of the desired system behavior. The abstract specification describes the highlevel behavior of the system independent of any timing or implementation details. The natural specification of a processor is the instruction set architecture. The specification is defined as a set of abstract assertions defining the effect of each operation on the uservisible state. An implementation mapping is used to relate abstract states to detailed circuit states. The mapping captures the microarchitecture of an implementation of the processor. Symbolic Trajectory Evaluation is used to verify that the circuit fulfills each individual abstract assertion under the implementation mapping. Symbolic Trajectory Evaluation can be considered to be a hybrid approach based on symbolic simulation and model checking algorithms. The methodology has been applied to the fixed point unit of a superscalar processor that implements the PowerPC architecture. The processor represents a significant leap of complexity compared to previous attempts at formal verification of processors. Our approach seems to be the first one that can truly deal with the complexity of pipeline interlocks.
Implementing a Methodology for Formally Verifying RISC Processors in HOL
, 1994
"... . In this paper a methodology for verifying RISC cores is presented. This methodology is based on a hierarchical model of interpreters. This model allows us to define formal specifications at each level of abstraction and successively prove the correctness between the neighbouring abstraction levels ..."
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Cited by 15 (7 self)
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. In this paper a methodology for verifying RISC cores is presented. This methodology is based on a hierarchical model of interpreters. This model allows us to define formal specifications at each level of abstraction and successively prove the correctness between the neighbouring abstraction levels, so that the overall specification is correct with respect to its hardware implementation. The correctness proofs have been split into two steps so that the parallelism in the execution due to the pipelining of instructions, is accounted for. The first step shows that the instructions are correctly processed by the pipeline and the second step shows that the semantic of each instruction is correct. We have implemented the specification of the entire model and performed parts of the proofs in HOL. 1 Introduction Completely automating the verification of general complex systems is practically impossible. Hence appropriate heuristics for specific classes of circuits such as finite state machi...
Experiments in Automating Hardware Verification using Inductive Proof Planning
, 1996
"... We present a new approach to automating the verification of hardware designs based on planning techniques. A database of methods is developed that combines tactics, which construct proofs, using specifications of their behaviour. Given a verification problem, a planner uses the method database to ..."
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Cited by 14 (7 self)
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We present a new approach to automating the verification of hardware designs based on planning techniques. A database of methods is developed that combines tactics, which construct proofs, using specifications of their behaviour. Given a verification problem, a planner uses the method database to build automatically a specialised tactic to solve the given problem. User interaction is limited to specifying circuits and their properties and, in some cases, suggesting lemmas. We have implemented our work in an extension of the Clam proof planning system. We report on this and its application to verifying a variety of combinational and synchronous sequential circuits including a parameterised multiplier design and a simple computer microprocessor.
A Theory of Generic Interpreters
, 1993
"... We present an abstract theory of interpreters. Interpreters are models of computation that are specifically designed for use as templates in computer system specification and verification. The generic interpreter theory contains an abstract representation which serves as an interface to the theory a ..."
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Cited by 13 (3 self)
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We present an abstract theory of interpreters. Interpreters are models of computation that are specifically designed for use as templates in computer system specification and verification. The generic interpreter theory contains an abstract representation which serves as an interface to the theory and as a guide to specification. A set of theory obligations ensure that the theory is being used correctly and provide a guide to system verification. The generic interpreter theory provides a methodology for deriving important definitions and lemmas that were previously obtained in a largely ad hoc fashion. Many of the complex data and temporal abstractions are done in the abstract theory and need not be redone when the theory is used.
Description and Verification of RTL Designs Using Multiway Decision Graphs
, 1995
"... Traditional OBDDbased methods of automated verification suffer from the drawback that they require a binary representation of the circuit. Multiway Decision Graphs (MDGs) [5] combine the advantages of OBDD techniques with those of abstract types. RTL designs can be compactly described by MDGs usin ..."
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Cited by 9 (7 self)
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Traditional OBDDbased methods of automated verification suffer from the drawback that they require a binary representation of the circuit. Multiway Decision Graphs (MDGs) [5] combine the advantages of OBDD techniques with those of abstract types. RTL designs can be compactly described by MDGs using abstract data values and uninterpreted function symbols. We have developed MDGbased techniques for combinational verification, reachability analysis, verification of behavioral equivalence, and verification of a microprocessor against its instruction set architecture. We report on the results of several verification experiments using our MDG package. I. Introduction Bryant's Reduced and Ordered Binary Decision Diagrams (OBDDs) [1] have proved to be a powerful tool for automated hardware verification [2, 6, 12]. OBDDs, however, have a drawback: they require a binary representation of the circuit even if the design is given at the Register Transfer Level. Every individual bit of every data ...
A Practical Methodology for the Formal Verification of RISC Processors
, 1995
"... In this paper a practical methodology for formally verifying RISC cores is presented. This methodology is based on a hierarchical model of interpreters which reflects the abstraction levels used by a designer in the implementation of RISC cores, namely the architecture level, the pipeline stage leve ..."
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Cited by 9 (0 self)
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In this paper a practical methodology for formally verifying RISC cores is presented. This methodology is based on a hierarchical model of interpreters which reflects the abstraction levels used by a designer in the implementation of RISC cores, namely the architecture level, the pipeline stage level, the clock phase level and the hardware implementation. The use of this model allows us to successively prove the correctness between two neighbouring levels of abstractions, so that the verification process is simplified. The parallelism in the execution of the instructions, resulting from the pipelined architecture of RISCs is handled by splitting the proof into two independent steps. The first step shows that each architectural instruction is implemented correctly by the sequential execution of its pipeline stages. The second step shows that the instructions are correctly processed by the pipeline in that we prove that under certain constraints from the actual architecture, no conflic...