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Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Component-Based Construction

Participants : Lacramioara Astefanoaei, Alain Girault, Gregor Goessler [contact person] , Roopak Sinha, Gideon Smeding.

Incremental converter synthesis

We have proposed and implemented a formal incremental converter-generation algorithm for system-on-chip (SoC) designs. The approach generates a converter, if one exists, to control the interaction between multiple intellectual property (IP) protocols with possible control and data mismatches, and allows pre-converted systems to be re-converted with additional IPs in the future. IP protocols are represented using labeled transition systems (LTS), a simple but elegant abstraction framework which can be extracted from and converted to standard IP description languages such as VHDL. The user can provide control properties, each stated as an LTS with accepting states, to describe desired aspects of the converted system, including fairness and liveness. Furthermore, data specifications can be provided to bound data channels between interacting IPs such that they do not over/under flow. The approach takes into account the uncontrollable environment of a system by allowing users to identify signals exchanged between the SoC and the environment, which the converter can neither suppress nor generate.

Given these inputs, the conversion algorithm first computes the reachable state-space of a maximal non-deterministic converter that ensures (i) the satisfaction of the given data specifications and (ii) the trace equivalence with the given control specifications, using a greatest fix-point computation. It then checks, using the standard algorithm for Büchi games, whether the converter can ensure the satisfaction of the given control specifications (reachability of accepting states) regardless of how the environment behaves. If this is found to be true, deterministic converters can be automatically generated from the maximal non-deterministic converter generated during the first step. The algorithm is proven to be sound and complete, with a polynomial complexity in the state-space sizes of given IP protocols and specifications. It is also shown that it can be used for incremental design of SoCs, where IPs and specifications are added to an SoC in steps. Incremental design allows to constrain the combinatorial explosion of the explored state-space in each step, and also reduces on-chip wire congestion by decentralizing the conversion process.

A Java implementation has been created, and experimental results show that the algorithm can handle complex IP mismatches and specifications in medium to large AMBA based SoC systems. Future work involves creating a library of commonly-encountered specifications in SoC design such as sharing of control signals between interacting IPs using buffers, signal lifespans, and the generation of optimal converters based on quantitative criteria such as minimal power usage.

This work has been done within the Afmes associated team with the Electric and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Auckland.

Causality Analysis in Contract Violation

Establishing liabilities in case of litigation is generally a delicate matter. It becomes even more challenging when IT systems are involved. Generally speaking, a party can be declared liable for a damage if a fault can be attributed to that party and this fault has caused the damage. The two key issues are thus to establish convincing evidence with respect to (1) the occurrence of the fault and (2) the causality relation between the fault and the damage. The first issue concerns the technique used to log the relevant events of the system and to ensure that the logs can be produced (and have some value) in court. The second issue is especially complex when several faults are detected in the logs and the impact of these faults on the occurrence of the failure has to be assessed. In [6] we have focused on this second issue and proposed a formal framework for reasoning about causality. A system based on this framework could be used to provide relevant information to the expert, the judge, or the parties themselves (in case of amicable settlement) to analyze the origin of the failure of an IT system.

The notion of causality has been studied for a long time in computer science, but with very different perspectives and goals. In the distributed systems community, causality (following Lamport's seminal paper  [82] ) is seen essentially as a temporal property. In our context, the temporal ordering contributes to the analysis, but it is obviously not sufficient to establish the logical causality required to rule on a matter of liability: the fact that an event e 1 has occurred before an event e 2 does not imply that e 1 was the cause for e 2 (or that e 2 would not have occurred if e 1 had not occurred).

Our formal model is based on components interacting according to well identified interaction models [5] . Each component is associated with an individual contract which specifies its expected behavior. The system itself is associated with a global contract which is assumed to be implied by the composition of the individual contracts.

In [6] we have defined several variants of logical causality. The first variant, necessary causality, characterizes cases when the global contract would not have been violated if the local contract had been fulfilled. The second variant, sufficient causality, characterizes cases when the global contract would have been violated even if all the other components had fulfilled their contracts. In other words, the violation of its contract by a single component was sufficient to violate the global contract.

We are currently extending to framework to other models of computation and communication, in particular, to timed automata.

Realizability of Choreographies for Services Interacting Asynchronously

Choreography specification languages describe from a global point of view interactions among a set of services in a system to be designed. Given a choreography specification, the goal is to obtain a distributed implementation of the choreography as a system of communicating peers. These peers can be given as input (e.g., obtained using discovery techniques) or automatically generated by projection from the choreography. Checking whether some set of peers implements a choreography specification is called realizability. This check is in general undecidable if asynchronous communication is considered, that is, services interact through message buffers.

In [24] we consider conversation protocols as a choreography specification language, and leverage a recent decidability result  [54] to check automatically the realizability of these specifications by a set of peers under an asynchronous communication model with a priori unbounded buffers.

A Theory of Fault Recovery for Component-Based Models

In [18] we have introduced a theory of fault recovery for component-based models. A model is specified in terms of a set of atomic components that are incrementally composed and synchronized by a set of glue operators. We define what it means for such models to provide a recovery mechanism, so that the model converges to its normal behavior in the presence of faults. We identify corrector (atomic or composite) components whose presence in a model is essential to guarantee recovery after the occurrence of faults. We also formalize component based models that effectively separate recovery from functional concerns.