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Software-centric and interaction-oriented system-on-chip verification.

As the complexity of very-large-scale-integrated-circuits (VLSI) soars, the complexity of verifying them increases even faster. Design verification becomes the biggest bottleneck in VLSI design, consuming around 70% of the effort and time in a typical design cycle. The problem is even more severe as the system-on-chip (SoC) design paradigm is gaining popularity. Unfortunately, the development in verification techniques has not kept up with the growth of the design capability, and is being left further behind in the SoC era. In recent years, a new generation of hardware-modelling-languages alongside the best practices to use them have emerged and evolved in an attempt to productively build an intelligent stimulationobservation environment referred to as the test-bench. Ironically, as test-benches are becoming more powerful and sophisticated under these best practices known as verification methodologies, the overall verification approaches today are still officially described as ad hoc and experimental and are in great need of a methodological breakthrough. Our research was carried out to seek the desirable methodological breakthrough, and this thesis presents the research outcome: a novel and holistic methodology that brings an opportunity to address the SoC verification problems. Furthermore, our methodology is a solution completely independent of the underlying simulation technologies; therefore, it could extend its applicability into future VLSI designs. Our methodology presents two ideas. (a) We propose that system-level verification should resort to the SoC-native languages rather than the test-bench construction languages; the software native to the SoC should take more critical responsibilities than the test-benches. (b) We challenge the fundamental assumption that “objects-under-test” and “tests” are distinct entities; instead, they should be understood as one type of entities – the interactions; interactions, together with the interference between interactions, i.e., the parallelism and resource-competitions, should be treated as the focus in system-level verification. The above two ideas, namely, software-centric verification and interaction-oriented verification have yielded practical techniques. This thesis elaborates on these techniques, including the transfer-resource-graph based test-generation method targeting the parallelism, the coverage measures of the concurrency completeness using Petri-nets, the automation of the test-programs which can execute smartly in an event-driven manner, and a software observation mechanism that gives insights into the system-level behaviours. / / Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 2009
Date January 2009
CreatorsXu, Xiao Xi
Source SetsAustraliasian Digital Theses Program
Detected LanguageEnglish

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