- Formal verification methodologies for nonlinear analog circuits (2011)
- The objective of this thesis is to develop new methodologies for formal verification of nonlinear analog circuits. Therefore, new approaches to discrete modeling of analog circuits, specification of analog circuit properties and formal verification algorithms are introduced. Formal approaches to verification of analog circuits are not yet introduced into industrial design flows and still subject to research. Formal verification proves specification conformance for all possible input conditions and all possible internal states of a circuit. Automatically proving that a model of the circuit satisfies a declarative machine-readable property specification is referred to as model checking. Equivalence checking proves the equivalence of two circuit implementations. Starting from the state of the art in modeling analog circuits for simulation-based verification, discrete modeling of analog circuits for state space-based formal verification methodologies is motivated in this thesis. In order to improve the discrete modeling of analog circuits, a new trajectory-directed partitioning algorithm was developed in the scope of this thesis. This new approach determines the partitioning of the state space parallel or orthogonal to the trajectories of the state space dynamics. Therewith, a high accuracy of the successor relation is achieved in combination with a lower number of states necessary for a discrete model of equal accuracy compared to the state-of-the-art hyperbox-approach. The mapping of the partitioning to a discrete analog transition structure (DATS) enables the application of formal verification algorithms. By analyzing digital specification concepts and the existing approaches to analog property specification, the requirements for a new specification language for analog properties have been discussed in this thesis. On the one hand, it shall meet the requirements for formal specification of verification approaches applied to DATS models. On the other hand, the language syntax shall be oriented on natural language phrases. By synthesis of these requirements, the analog specification language (ASL) was developed in the scope of this thesis. The verification algorithms for model checking, that were developed in combination with ASL for application to DATS models generated with the new trajectory-directed approach, offer a significant enhancement compared to the state of the art. In order to prepare a transition of signal-based to state space-based verification methodologies, an approach to transfer transient simulation results from non-formal test bench simulation flows into a partial state space representation in form of a DATS has been developed in the scope of this thesis. As has been demonstrated by examples, the same ASL specification that was developed for formal model checking on complete discrete models could be evaluated without modifications on transient simulation waveforms. An approach to counterexample generation for the formal ASL model checking methodology offers to generate transition sequences from a defined starting state to a specification-violating state for inspection in transient simulation environments. Based on this counterexample generation, a new formal verification methodology using complete state space-covering input stimuli was developed. By conducting a transient simulation with these complete state space-covering input stimuli, the circuit adopts every state and transition that were visited during stimulus generation. An alternative formal verification methodology is given by retransferring the transient simulation responses to a DATS model and by applying the ASL verification algorithms in combination with an ASL property specification. Moreover, the complete state space-covering input stimuli can be applied to develop a formal equivalence checking methodology. Therewith, the equivalence of two implementations can be proven for every inner state of both systems by comparing the transient simulation responses to the complete-coverage stimuli of both circuits. In order to visually inspect the results of the newly introduced verification methodologies, an approach to dynamic state space visualization using multi-parallel particle simulation was developed. Due to the particles being randomly distributed over the complete state space and moving corresponding to the state space dynamics, another perspective to the system's behavior is provided that covers the state space and hence offers formal results. The prototypic implementations of the formal verification methodologies developed in the scope of this thesis have been applied to several example circuits. The acquired results for the new approaches to discrete modeling, specification and verification algorithms all demonstrate the capability of the new verification methodologies to be applied to complex circuit blocks and their properties.