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Formal Verification of an Avionics Microprocessor

Mandayam K. Srivas (SRI) and Steven P. Miller (Collins Commercial Avionics)

Technical Report SRI-CSL-95-4


Formal specification combined with mechanical verification is a promising approach for achieving the extremely high levels of assurance required of safety-critical digital systems. However, many questions remain regarding their use in practice: Can these techniques scale up to industrial systems, where are they likely to be useful, and how should industry go about incorporating them into practice? This report discusses a project undertaken to answer some of these questions, the formal verification of the AAMP5 microprocessor. This project consisted of formally specifying in the PVS language a Rockwell proprietary microprocessor at both the instruction-set and register-transfer levels and using the PVS theorem prover to show that the microcode correctly implemented the instruction-level specification for a representative subset of instructions. Notable aspects of this project include the use of a formal specification language by practicing hardware and software engineers, the integration of traditional inspections with formal specifications, and the use of a mechanical theorem prover to verify a portion of a commercial, pipelined microprocessor that was not explicitly designed for formal verification.

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Last modified: Thu 30 Nov 2006 12:15 UTC
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