Combining advanced formal hardware verification techniques
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This dissertation combines formal verification techniques in an attempt to reduce the human effort required to verify large systems formally. One method to reduce the human effort required by formal verification is to modify general-purpose theorem proving techniques to increase the number of lemma instances considered automatically. Such a modification to the forward chaining proof technique within the ACL2 theorem prover is described. This dissertation identifies a decidable subclass of the ACL2 logic, the Subclass of Unrollable List Formulas in ACL2 (SUFLA). SUFLA is shown to be decidable, i.e., there exists an algorithm that decides whether any SUFLA formula is valid. Theorems from first-order logic can be proven through a methodology that combines interactive theorem proving with a fully-automated solver for SUFLA formulas. This methodology has been applied to the verification of components of the TRIPS processor, a prototype processor designed and fabricated by the University of Texas and IBM. Also, a fully-automated procedure for the Satisfiability Modulo Theory (SMT) of bit vectors is implemented by combining a solver for SUFLA formulas with the ACL2 theorem prover's general-purpose rewriting proof technique. A new methodology for combining theorem proving and model checking is presented, which uses a unique "black-box" formalization of hardware designs. This methodology has been used to combine the ACL2 theorem prover with IBM's SixthSense model checker and applied to the verification of a high-performance industrial multiplier design. A general-purpose mechanism has been created for adding external tools to a general-purpose theorem prover. This mechanism, implemented in the ACL2 theorem prover, is capable of supporting the combination of ACL2 with both SixthSense and the SAT-based SUFLA solver. A new hardware description language, DE2, is described. DE2 has a number of unique features geared towards simplifying formal verification, including a relatively simple formal semantics, support for the description of circuit generators, and support for embedding non-functional constructs within a hardware design. The composition of these techniques extend our knowledge of the languages and logics needed for formal verification and should reduce the human effort required to verify large hardware circuit models.