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Transaction-level modeling (TLM) is the most promising technique to deal with the increasing complexity of modern embedded systems. However, modeling a complex system completely at transaction level could be inconvenient when IP cores are available on the market, since they are usually modeled at register transfer level (RTL). In this context, modeling and verification methodologies based on transactors allow designers to reuse RTL IPs into TLM-RTL mixed designs, thus guaranteeing a considerable saving of time. Practical advantages of such an approach are evident, but mixed TLM-RTL designs cannot completely provide the well-known effectiveness in terms of simulation speed provided by TLM. This paper presents a methodology to automatically abstract RTL IPs into equivalent TLM descriptions. To do that, the paper first proposes a formal definition of equivalence based on events, showing how such a definition can be applied to prove the correctness of a code manipulation methodology, such as code abstraction. Then, the paper proposes a technique to automatically abstract RTL IPs into TLM descriptions. Finally, the paper shows that the TLM descriptions obtained by applying the proposed technique are correct by construction, relying on the given definition of event-based equivalence. A set of experimental results is reported to confirm the effectiveness of the methodology.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2011