Semantics Driven Hardware Design, Implementation, and Verification with ReWire

Adam Procter, William L. Harrison, Ian Graves, Michela Becchi, and Gerard Allwein. Accepted at the 2015 ACM SIGPLAN/SIGBED Conference on Languages, Compilers, Tools and Theory for Embedded Systems (LCTES 2015), Portland, Oregon, June 18-19, 2015.

Abstract. There is no such thing as high assurance without high assurance hardware. High assurance hardware is essential, because any and all high assurance systems ultimately depend on hardware that conforms to, and does not undermine, critical system properties and invariants. And yet, high assurance hardware development is stymied by the conceptual gap between formal methods and hardware description languages used by engineers. This paper presents ReWire, a functional programming language providing a suitable foundation for formal verification of hardware designs, and a compiler for that language that translates high-level, semantics-driven designs directly into working hardware. ReWire's design and implementation are presented, along with a case study in the design of a secure multicore processor, demonstrating both ReWire's expressiveness as a programming language and its power as a framework for formal, high-level reasoning about hardware systems.