Exploiting Positive Equality and Partial Non-Consistency in the Formal Verification of Pipelined Microprocessors
journal contributionposted on 01.10.2002 by Miroslav N Velev, Randal E. Bryant
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We study the applicability of the logic of Positive Equality with Uninterpreted Functions (PEUF)  to the verification of pipelined microprocessors with very large Instruction Set Architectures (ISAs). Abstraction of memory arrays and functional units is employed, while the control logic of the processors is kept intact from the original gate-level designs. PEUF is an extension of the logic of Equality with Uninterpreted Functions, introduced by Burch and Dill , that allows us to use distinct constants for the data operands and instruction addresses needed in the symbolic expression for the correctness criterion. We present several techniques that make PEUF scale very efficiently for the verification of pipelined microprocessors with large ISAs. These techniques are based on allowing a limited form of non-consistency in the uninterpreted functions, representing initial memory state and ALU behaviors. Our tool required less than 30 seconds of CPU time and 5 MB of memory to verify a 5-stage MIPS-like pipelined processor that implements 191 instructions of various classes. The verification was done by correspondence checking - a formal method, where a pipelined microprocessor is compared against a non-pipelined specification.