Synthesis of AMBA AHB from formal specification: a case study

Abstract

The standard hardware design flow involves: (a) design of an integrated circuit using a hardware description language, (b) extensive functional and formal verification, and (c) logical synthesis. However, the above-mentioned processes consume significant effort and time. An alternative approach is to use a formal specification language as a high-level hardware description language and synthesize hardware from formal specifications. Our work is a case study of the synthesis of the widely and industrially used AMBA AHB protocol from formal specifications. Bloem et al. presented the first formal specifications for the AMBA AHB Arbiter and synthesized the AHB Arbiter circuit. However, in the first formal specification some important assumptions were missing. Our contributions are as follows: (a) We present detailed formal specifications for the AHB Arbiter incorporating the missing details, and obtain significant improvements in the synthesis results (both with respect to the number of gates in the synthesized circuit and with respect to the time taken to synthesize the circuit), and (b) we present formal specifications to generate compact circuits for the remaining two main components of AMBA AHB, namely, AHB Master and AHB Slave. Thus with systematic description we are able to automatically and completely synthesize an important and widely used industrial protocol.

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Correspondence to Krishnendu Chatterjee.

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Godhal, Y., Chatterjee, K. & Henzinger, T.A. Synthesis of AMBA AHB from formal specification: a case study. Int J Softw Tools Technol Transfer 15, 585–601 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10009-011-0207-9

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Keywords

  • Synthesis
  • AMBA AHB protocol
  • Formal specification
  • Temporal logic