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Automatic test program generation: a case study

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4 Author(s)
Corno, F. ; Politecnico di Torino, Italy ; Sanchez, E. ; Reorda, M.S. ; Squillero, G.

Design validation is a critical step in the development of present-day microprocessors, and some authors suggest that up to 60% of the design cost is attributable to this activity. Of the numerous activities performed in different stages of the design flow and at different levels of abstraction, we focus on simulation-based design validation performed at the behavioral register-transfer level. Designers typically write assertions inside hardware description language (HDL) models and run extensive simulations to increase confidence in device correctness. Simulation results can also be useful in comparing the HDL model against higher-level references or instruction set simulators. Microprocessor validation has become more difficult since the adoption of pipelined architectures, mainly because you can't evaluate the behavior of a pipelined microprocessor by considering one instruction at a time; a pipeline's behavior depends on a sequence of instructions and all their operands.

Published in:

Design & Test of Computers, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 2 )