Developing critical systems with PLD components

Hilton, Adrian and Hall, Jon G. (2005). Developing critical systems with PLD components. In: Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, 70(3) pp. 385–395.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/1081180.1081190

URL: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1081180.1081...

Abstract

Understanding the roles that rigour and formality can have in the design of critical systems is critical to anyone wishing to contribute to their development. Whereas knowledge of these issues is good in software development, in the use of hardware -- specifically programmable logic devices (PLDs) and the combination of PLDs and software -- the issues are less well known. Indeed, even in industry there are many differences between current and recommended practice and engineering opinion differs on how to apply existing standards. This situation has led to gaps in the formal and rigorous treatment of PLDs in critical systems.In this paper we examine the range of and potential for formal specification and analysis techniques that address the requirements for verifiable PLD programs. We identify existing formalisms that may be used, and lay out the areas of contributions that academia and industry in collaboration can make that would allow high-integrity PLD programming to be as practicable as high-integrity software development.This paper also touches briefly on some important practical, technical, organisational, social, and psychological aspects of the introduction of formal methods into industrial practice for hardware and system design. It also provides an update and summary of the recent UK Defence Standard 00-56, as it relates to hardware.

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