Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Systematic RISC-V based Firmware Design

Vladimir Herdt; Daniel Große; Rolf Drechsler; Christoph Gerum; Alexander Jung; Joscha-Joel Benz; Oliver Bringmann; Michael Schwarz; Dominik Stoffel; Wolfgang Kunz
In: Forum on Specification & Design Languages (FDL). Forum on Specification & Design Languages (FDL-2019), September 2-4, Southampton, United Kingdom, 2019.


Small embedded devices are highly specialized platforms that integrate several peripherals alongside the CPU core. Embedded devices extensively rely on Firmware (FW) to control and access the peripherals as well as other important functionality. This poses challenges to FW development since the FW must be adapted to each specific device configuration. Besides ensuring functional correctness to avoid errors and security vulnerabilities, an important design factor today is the control and adaptivity of a system with respect to non-functional properties, like for example application-specific timing budgets. Furthermore, optimizations of the FW and HW/SW interface play a very important role due to the tight resource constraints of small embedded devices. To satisfy these requirements new FW design methods are needed targeting FW generation, FW verification and FW optimization. This paper presents such new methods to enable an early, efficient and systematic FW design taking the underlying HW architecture into account. We use the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) as a case study to demonstrate our methods.