Analysis of Hardware Descriptions

Singh, Satnam (1991) Analysis of Hardware Descriptions. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The design process for integrated circuits requires a lot of analysis of circuit descriptions. An important class of analyses determines how easy it will be to determine if a physical component suffers from any manufacturing errors. As circuit complexities grow rapidly, the problem of testing circuits also becomes increasingly difficult. This thesis explores the potential for analysing a recent high level hardware description language called Ruby. In particular, we are interested in performing testability analyses of Ruby circuit descriptions. Ruby is ammenable to algebraic manipulation, so we have sought transformations that improve testability while preserving behaviour. The analysis of Ruby descriptions is performed by adapting a technique called abstract interpretation. This has been used successfully to analyse functional programs. This technique is most applicable where the analysis to be captured operates over structures isomorphic to the structure of the circuit. Many digital systems analysis tools require the circuit description to be given in some special form. This can lead to inconsistency between representations, and involves additional work converting between representations. We propose using the original description medium, in this case Ruby, for performing analyses. A related technique, called non-standard interpretation, is shown to be very useful for capturing many circuit analyses. An implementation of a system that performs non-standard interpretation forms the central part of the work. This allows Ruby descriptions to be analysed using alternative interpretations such test pattern generation and circuit layout interpretations. This system follows a similar approach to Boute's system semantics work and O'Donnell's work on Hydra. However, we have allowed a larger class of interpretations to be captured and offer a richer description language. The implementation presented here is constructed to allow a large degree of code sharing between different analyses. Several analyses have been implemented including simulation, test pattern generation and circuit layout. Non-standard interpretation provides a good framework for implementing these analyses. A general model for making non-standard interpretations is presented. Combining forms that combine two interpretations to produce a new interpretation are also introduced. This allows complex circuit analyses to be decomposed in a modular manner into smaller circuit analyses which can be built independently.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Computer science
Date of Award: 1991
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1991-78311
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:09

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