Formal Verification of a Network on Chip

Beidu, Sandy (2009-12-12)


Current advancement in VLSI technology allows more circuit to be integrated on a single chip forming a System on Chip (SoC). The state of art in on-chip intermodule connection of using a shared bus with a common arbiter poses scalability problems and become a performance bottleneck as the number of modules increase. Network on Chip (NoC) has been proposed as a viable solution to this problem. The possibility of occurrence of deadlocks and livelocks in a NoC requires that their design be validated since these can cause serious consequences such as power consumption and heat dissipation. The traditional ways of validating chips by simulation-based techniques are been stretched passed their limits and the only alternative left is formal verification. This project pushes forward the range of applicability of formal verification by formally verifying the OASIS NoC using the model checking technique. Both refinement model checking and probabilistic model checking techniques are used to verify OASIS NoC for properties of the System. The OASIS NoC is first formalised in CSP and then verified with the FDR model checker for deadlock freedom. It is also shown that PRISM model checker which is designed for verifying probabilistic properties can be used to verify non probabilistic properties by using PRISM to also verify the OASIS NoC for deadlock freedom. The verification result of both FDR and PRISM shows that the OASIS NoC is free from deadlock. It was also shown using PRISM that the OASIS NoC behaves as a message buffer as expected of NoCs.