ACL2: Eating One's Own Dogfood

  • Warren Hunt U. of Texas
October 02, 2010 4:30 - 5:00 PM


We are using the ACL2 theorem-proving system for formally verifying properties of the X86-compatible, 64-bit VIA Nano microprocessor. To validate Nano circuit models, we translate its Verilog into our formally defined HDL. We write specifications in the ACL2 logic, and mechanically verify HDL descriptions using the ACL2 theorem prover to orchestrate the use of BDDs, AIGs, SAT, symbolic simulations techniques, and the theorem prover itself. Our system has been integrated into the Centaur design toolflow; this includes rapid and regular translation of the Nano design into our framework and daily regression runs.

Our tools are written in ACL2, which is itself a functional language. For instance, our BDD package is written in ACL2 and has been proven correct using the ACL2 theorem prover -- likewise so is our AIG package and many other tools. Our symbolic simulation system for the entire ACL2 logic is also written in ACL2, and it has been verified by the ACL2 theorem prover. In fact, the entire ACL2 system is written in the ACL2 language. ACL2 is in commercial use by a number of companies, including AMD, Centaur, IBM, and Microsoft.

We believe the FP community should consider the same operational paradigm. In fact, we challenge the FP community to write analysis tools for their functional programs in their own programing languages. This kind of "eating one's own dog food" tends to make one's system better. Our combined ACL2/CAD system may be the world's largest functional program as the source code exceeds five megabytes. Without our associated mechanical verification system, we couldn't begin to manage the complexity we have created. We have wondered if we could apply our tools to other functional languages.