## Dissertation

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- Symbolic Simulation of Mixed-Signal Systems with Extended Affine Arithmetic (2016)
- Mixed-signal systems combine analog circuits with digital hardware and software systems. A particular challenge is the sensitivity of analog parts to even small deviations in parameters, or inputs. Parameters of circuits and systems such as process, voltage, and temperature are never accurate; we hence model them as uncertain values (‘uncertainties’). Uncertain parameters and inputs can modify the dynamic behavior and lead to properties of the system that are not in specified ranges. For verification of mixed- signal systems, the analysis of the impact of uncertainties on the dynamical behavior plays a central role. Verification of mixed-signal systems is usually done by numerical simulation. A single numerical simulation run allows designers to verify single parameter values out of often ranges of uncertain values. Multi-run simulation techniques such as Monte Carlo Simulation, Corner Case simulation, and enhanced techniques such as Importance Sampling or Design-of-Experiments allow to verify ranges – at the cost of a high number of simulation runs, and with the risk of not finding potential errors. Formal and symbolic approaches are an interesting alternative. Such methods allow a comprehensive verification. However, formal methods do not scale well with heterogeneity and complexity. Also, formal methods do not support existing and established modeling languages. This fact complicates its integration in industrial design flows. In previous work on verification of Mixed-Signal systems, Affine Arithmetic is used for symbolic simulation. This allows combining the high coverage of formal methods with the ease-of use and applicability of simulation. Affine Arithmetic computes the propagation of uncertainties through mostly linear analog circuits and DSP methods in an accurate way. However, Affine Arithmetic is currently only able to compute with contiguous regions, but does not permit the representation of and computation with discrete behavior, e.g. introduced by software. This is a serious limitation: in mixed-signal systems, uncertainties in the analog part are often compensated by embedded software; hence, verification of system properties must consider both analog circuits and embedded software. The objective of this work is to provide an extension to Affine Arithmetic that allows symbolic computation also for digital hardware and software systems, and to demonstrate its applicability and scalability. Compared with related work and state of the art, this thesis provides the following achievements: 1. The thesis introduces extended Affine Arithmetic Forms (XAAF) for the representation of branch and merge operations. 2. The thesis describes arithmetic and relational operations on XAAF, and reduces over-approximation by using an LP solver. 3. The thesis shows and discusses ways to integrate this XAAF into existing modeling languages, in particular SystemC. This way, breaks in the design flow can be avoided. The applicability and scalability of the approach is demonstrated by symbolic simulation of a Delta-Sigma Modulator and a PLL circuit of an IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver system.

- Design and Verification of Behaviour-Based Systems Realising Task Sequences (2015)
- Since their invention in the 1980s, behaviour-based systems have become very popular among roboticists. Their component-based nature facilitates the distributed implementation of systems, fosters reuse, and allows for early testing and integration. However, the distributed approach necessitates the interconnection of many components into a network in order to realise complex functionalities. This network is crucial to the correct operation of the robotic system. There are few sound design techniques for behaviour networks, especially if the systems shall realise task sequences. Therefore, the quality of the resulting behaviour-based systems is often highly dependant on the experience of their developers. This dissertation presents a novel integrated concept for the design and verification of behaviour-based systems that realise task sequences. Part of this concept is a technique for encoding task sequences in behaviour networks. Furthermore, the concept provides guidance to developers of such networks. Based on a thorough analysis of methods for defining sequences, Moore machines have been selected for representing complex tasks. With the help of the structured workflow proposed in this work and the developed accompanying tool support, Moore machines defining task sequences can be transferred automatically into corresponding behaviour networks, resulting in less work for the developer and a lower risk of failure. Due to the common integration of automatically and manually created behaviour-based components, a formal analysis of the final behaviour network is reasonable. For this purpose, the dissertation at hand presents two verification techniques and justifies the selection of model checking. A novel concept for applying model checking to behaviour-based systems is proposed according to which behaviour networks are modelled as synchronised automata. Based on such automata, properties of behaviour networks that realise task sequences can be verified or falsified. Extensive graphical tool support has been developed in order to assist the developer during the verification process. Several examples are provided in order to illustrate the soundness of the presented design and verification techniques. The applicability of the integrated overall concept to real-world tasks is demonstrated using the control system of an autonomous bucket excavator. It can be shown that the proposed design concept is suitable for developing complex sophisticated behaviour networks and that the presented verification technique allows for verifying real-world behaviour-based systems.

- Robustness against Relaxed Memory Models (2015)
- Sequential Consistency (SC) is the memory model traditionally applied by programmers and verification tools for the analysis of multithreaded programs. SC guarantees that instructions of each thread are executed atomically and in program order. Modern CPUs implement memory models that relax the SC guarantees: threads can execute instructions out of order, stores to the memory can be observed by different threads in different order. As a result of these relaxations, multithreaded programs can show unexpected, potentially undesired behaviors, when run on real hardware. The robustness problem asks if a program has the same behaviors under SC and under a relaxed memory model. Behaviors are formalized in terms of happens-before relations — dataflow and control-flow relations between executed instructions. Programs that are robust against a memory model produce the same results under this memory model and under SC. This means, they only need to be verified under SC, and the verification results will carry over to the relaxed setting. Interestingly, robustness is a suitable correctness criterion not only for multithreaded programs, but also for parallel programs running on computer clusters. Parallel programs written in Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) programming model, when executed on cluster, consist of multiple processes, each running on its cluster node. These processes can directly access memories of each other over the network, without the need of explicit synchronization. Reorderings and delays introduced on the network level, just as the reorderings done by the CPUs, may result into unexpected behaviors that are hard to reproduce and fix. Our first contribution is a generic approach for solving robustness against relaxed memory models. The approach involves two steps: combinatorial analysis, followed by an algorithmic development. The aim of combinatorial analysis is to show that among program computations violating robustness there is always a computation in a certain normal form, where reorderings are applied in a restricted way. In the algorithmic development we work out a decision procedure for checking whether a program has violating normal-form computations. Our second contribution is an application of the generic approach to widely implemented memory models, including Total Store Order used in Intel x86 and Sun SPARC architectures, the memory model of Power architecture, and the PGAS memory model. We reduce robustness against TSO to SC state reachability for a modified input program. Robustness against Power and PGAS is reduced to language emptiness for a novel class of automata — multiheaded automata. The reductions lead to new decidability results. In particular, robustness is PSPACE-complete for all the considered memory models.

- Preprocessing for Property Checking of Sequential Circuits on the Register Transfer Level (2003)
- As the sustained trend towards integrating more and more functionality into systems on a chip can be observed in all fields, their economic realization is a challenge for the chip making industry. This is, however, barely possible today, as the ability to design and verify such complex systems could not keep up with the rapid technological development. Owing to this productivity gap, a design methodology, mainly using pre designed and pre verifying blocks, is mandatory. The availability of such blocks, meeting the highest possible quality standards, is decisive for its success. Cost-effective, this can only be achieved by formal verification on the block-level, namely by checking properties, ranging over finite intervals of time. As this verification approach is based on constructing and solving Boolean equivalence problems, it allows for using backtrack search procedures, such as SAT. Recent improvements of the latter are responsible for its high capacity. Still, the verification of some classes of hardware designs, enjoying regular substructures or complex arithmetic data paths, is difficult and often intractable. For regular designs, this is mainly due to individual treatment of symmetrical parts of the search space by backtrack search procedures used. One approach to tackle these deficiencies, is to exploit the regular structure for problem reduction on the register transfer level (RTL). This work describes a new approach for property checking on the RTL, preserving the problem inherent structure for subsequent reduction. The reduction is based on eliminating symmetrical parts from bitvector functions, and hence, from the search space. Several approaches for symmetry reduction in search problems, based on invariance of a function under permutation of variables, have been previously proposed. Unfortunately, our investigations did not reveal this kind of symmetry in relevant cases. Instead, we propose a reduction based on symmetrical values, as we encounter them much more frequently in our industrial examples. Let \(f\) be a Boolean function. The values \(0\) and \(1\) are symmetrical values for a variable \(x\) in \(f\) iff there is a variable permutation \(\pi\) of the variables of \(f\), fixing \(x\), such that \(f|_{x=0} = \pi(f|_{x=1})\). Then the question whether \(f=1\) holds is independent from this variable, and it can be removed. By iterative application of this approach to all variables of \(f\), they are either all removed, leaving \(f=1\) or \(f=0\) trivially, or there is a variable \(x'\) with no such \(\pi\). The latter leads to the conclusion that \(f=1\) does not hold, as we found a counter-example either with \(x'=0\), or \(x'=1\). Extending this basic idea to vectors of variables, allows to elevate it to the RTL. There, self similarities in the function representation, resulting from the regular structure preserved, can be exploited, and as a consequence, symmetrical bitvector values can be found syntactically. In particular, bitvector term-rewriting techniques, isomorphism procedures for specially manipulated term graphs, and combinations thereof, are proposed. This approach dramatically reduces the computational effort needed for functional verification on the block-level and, in particular, for the important problem class of regular designs. It allows the verification of industrial designs previously intractable. The main contributions of this work are in providing a framework for dealing with bitvector functions algebraically, a concise description of bounded model checking on the register transfer level, as well as new reduction techniques and new approaches for finding and exploiting symmetrical values in bitvector functions.