Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Bertacco and Wagner Earn Best Paper Award at ICCD   Bookmark and Share


Prof. Valeria Bertacco, Dr. Ilya Wagner

Prof. Valeria Bertacco and Ilya Wagner (who recently defended his dissertation) received the Best Paper Award at the 2008 International Conference on Computer Design (ICCD) for their paper, Reversi: Post-Silicon Validation System for Modern Microprocessors.

Traditionally, hardware prototypes of new microprocessors undergo extensive validation in-house before moving into large-scale production and release (this is called post-silicon validation). Traditionally, the outcome of tests executed in this phase must be validated against that of time-consuming simulated executions. The authors describe their work:

"Reversi eliminates the bottleneck of this simulation phase by generating test programs which are 'reversible'. When a fully functional prototype processor executes one of these programs, it terminates precisely in the same state in which it started. However, if the prototype is not operating correctly, it will terminate in a different state, revealing the existence of a problem. As an analogy, a complex dance sequence may be designed so that a dancer executing it correctly will complete the sequence in the exact same spot where it started, but so that any incorrect step will leave the dancer in a different spot. By generating reversible test programs, Reversi allows to bypass the time consuming simulation phase and provides twenty times better performance over traditional post-silicon validation methodologies."