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Improving the Efficiency of Formal Verification: The Case of Clock-Domain Crossings

Auteur(s) : G. Plassan, H.J. Peter, K. Morin-Allory, S. Sarwary, D. Borrione

Doc. Source: VLSI-SoC: System-on-Chip in the Nanoscale Era – Design, Verification and Reliability

Publisher : Springer

Pages : 108-129

Doi : 10.1007/978-3-319-67104-8

We propose a novel semi-automatic methodology to formally verify clock-domain synchronization protocols in industrial-scale hardware designs. To establish the functional correctness of all clock-domain crossings (CDCs) in a system-on-chip (SoC), semi-automatic approaches require non-trivial manual deductive reasoning. In contrast, our approach produces a small sequence of easy queries to the user. The key idea is to use counterexample-guided abstraction refinement (CEGAR) as the algorithmic back-end. The user influences the course of the algorithm based on information extracted from intermediate abstract counterexamples. The workload on the user is small, both in terms of number of queries and the degree of design insight the user is asked to provide. With this approach, we formally proved the correctness of every CDC in a recent SoC design from STMicroelectronics comprising over 300,000 registers and seven million gates.