## Doctoral Thesis

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Mit zunehmender Integration von immermehr Funktionalität in zukünftigen SoC-Designs erhöht sich die Bedeutung der funktionalen Verifikation auf der Blockebene. Nur Blockentwürfe mit extrem niedriger Fehlerrate erlauben eine schnelle Integration in einen SoC-Entwurf. Diese hohen Qualitätsansprüche können durch simulationsbasierte Verifikation nicht erreicht werden. Aus diesem Grund rücken Methoden zur formalen Entwurfsverifikation in den Fokus. Auf der Blockebene hat sich die Eigenschaftsprüfung basierend auf dem iterativen Schaltungsmodell als erfolgreiche Technologie herausgestellt. Trotzdem gibt es immer noch einige Design-Klassen, die für BIMC schwer zu handhaben sind. Hierzu gehören Schaltungen mit hoher sequentieller Tiefe sowie arithmetische Blöcke. Die fortlaufende Verbesserung der verwendeten Beweismethoden, z.B. der verwendeten SAT-Solver, wird der zunehmenden Komplexität immer größer werdender Blöcke alleine nicht gewachsen sein. Aus diesem Grund zeigt diese Arbeit auf, wie bereits in der Problemaufbereitung des Front-Ends eines Werkzeugs zur formalen Verifikation Maßnahmen zur Vereinfachung der entstehenden Beweisprobleme ergriffen werden können. In den beiden angesprochenen Problemfeldern werden dazu exemplarisch geeignete Freiheitsgrade bei der Modellgenerierung im Front-End identifiziert und zur Vereinfachung der Beweisaufgaben für das Back-End ausgenutzt.

In recent years, formal property checking has become adopted successfully in industry and is used increasingly to solve the industrial verification tasks. This success results from property checking formulations that are well adapted to specific methodologies. In particular, assertion checking and property checking methodologies based on Bounded Model Checking or related techniques have matured tremendously during the last decade and are well supported by industrial methodologies. This is particularly true for formal property checking of computational System-on-Chip (SoC) modules. This work is based on a SAT-based formulation of property checking called Interval Property Checking (IPC). IPC originates in the Siemens company and is in industrial use since the mid 1990s. IPC handles a special type of safety properties, which specify operations in intervals between abstract starting and ending states. This paves the way for extremely efficient proving procedures. However, there are still two problems in the IPC-based verification methodology flow that reduce the productivity of the methodology and sometimes hamper adoption of IPC. First, IPC may return false counterexamples since its computational bounded circuit model only captures local reachability information, i.e., long-term dependencies may be missed. If this happens, the properties need to be strengthened with reachability invariants in order to rule out the spurious counterexamples. Identifying strong enough invariants is a laborious manual task. Second, a set of properties needs to be formulated manually for each individual design to be verified. This set, however, isn’t re-usable for different designs. This work exploits special features of communication modules in SoCs to solve these problems and to improve the productivity of the IPC methodology flow. First, the work proposes a decomposition-based reachability analysis to solve the problem of identifying reachability information automatically. Second, this work develops a generic, reusable set of properties for protocol compliance verification.

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.

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.