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Synergistic Verification of Hardware Peripherals through Virtual Prototype Aided Cross-Level Methodology Leveraging Coverage-Guided Fuzzing and Co-Simulation

Sallar Ahmadi-Pour; Mathis Logemann; Vladimir Herdt; Rolf Drechsler
In: Chips, Vol. 2, Pages 195-208, MDPI, 2023.


In this paper, we propose a Virtual Prototype (VP) driven verification methodology for Hardware (HW) peripherals. In particular, we combine two approaches that complement each other and use the VP as a readily available reference model: We use (A) Coverage-Guided Fuzzing (CGF) which enables comprehensive verification at the unit-level of the Register-Transfer Level (RTL) HW peripheral with a Transaction Level Modeling (TLM) reference, and (B) an application-driven co-simulation-based approach that enables verification of the HW peripheral at the system-level. As a case-study, we utilize a RISC-V Platform Level Interrupt Controller (PLIC) as HW peripheral and use an abstract TLM PLIC implementation from the open source RISC-V VP as the reference model. In our experiments we find three behavioral mismatches and discuss the observation of these, as well as non-functional timing behavior mismatches, that were found through the proposed synergistic approach. Furthermore, we provide a discussion and considerations on the RTL/TLM Transactors, as they embody one keystone in cross-level methods. As the different approaches uncover different mismatches in our case-study (e.g., behavioral mismatches and timing mismatches), we conclude a synergy between the methods to aid in verification efforts.