Computer Laboratory

Technical reports

Verification of asynchronous circuits

Paul Alexander Cunningham

April 2004, 174 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted January 2002 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College.


The purpose of this thesis is to introduce proposition-oriented behaviours and apply them to the verification of asynchronous circuits. The major contribution of proposition-oriented behaviours is their ability to extend existing formal notations to permit the explicit use of both signal levels and transitions.

This thesis begins with the formalisation of proposition-oriented behaviours in the context of gate networks, and with the set-theoretic extension of both regular-expressions and trace-expressions to reason over proposition-oriented behaviours. A new trace-expression construct, referred to as biased composition, is also introduced. Algorithmic realisation of these set-theoretic extensions is documented using a special form of finite automata called proposition automata. A verification procedure for conformance of gate networks to a set of proposition automata is described in which each proposition automaton may be viewed either as a constraint or a specification. The implementation of this procedure as an automated verification program called Veraci is summarised, and a number of example Veraci programs are used to demonstrate contributions of proposition-oriented behaviour to asynchronous circuit design. These contributions include level-event unification, event abstraction, and relative timing assumptions using biased composition. The performance of Veraci is also compared to an existing event-oriented verification program called Versify, the result of this comparison being a consistent performance gain using Veraci over Versify.

This thesis concludes with the design and implementation of a 2048 bit dual-rail asynchronous Montgomery exponentiator, MOD_EXP, in a 0.18µm standard-cell process. The application of Veraci to the design of MOD_EXP is summarised, and the practical benefits of proposition-oriented verification are discussed.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Cunningham, Paul Alexander},
  title = 	 {{Verification of asynchronous circuits}},
  year = 	 2004,
  month = 	 apr,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-587}