RTLCheck: Verifying Memory Consistency in RTL Designs

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Paramount to the viability of a parallel architecture is the correct implementation of its memory consistency model (MCM). Although tools exist for verifying consistency models at several design levels, a problematic verification gap exists between checking an abstract microarchitectural specification of a consistency model and verifying that the actual processor RTL implements it correctly.

This paper presents RTLCheck, a methodology and tool for narrowing the microarchitecture/RTL MCM verification gap. Given a set of microarchitectural axioms about MCM behavior, an RTL design, and user-provided mappings to assist in connecting the two, RTLCheck automatically generates the SystemVerilog Assertions (SVA) needed to verify that the implementation satisfies the microarchitectural specification for a given litmus test program. When combined with existing automated MCM verification tools, RTLCheck enables test-based full-stack MCM verification from high-level languages to RTL.We evaluate RTLCheck on a multicore version of the RISC-V V-scale processor, and discover a bug in its memory implementation. Once the bug is fixed, we verify that the multicore V-scale implementation satisfies sequential consistency across 56 litmus tests. The JasperGold property verifier finds complete proofs for 89% of our properties, and can find bounded proofs for the remaining properties.


Yatin A. Manerkar (Princeton)
Margaret Martonosi (Princeton)

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