Proceedings of ISP RAS


A Survey of Methods and Tools for Test Program Generation for Microprocessors

A.D. Tatarnikov (ISP RAS, Moscow, Russia)

Abstract

This paper gives a survey of existing methods and tools for test program generation for microprocessors. Test program generation and analysis of their execution traces is the main approach to functional verification of microprocessors. This approach is also known as testing. Despite continuous progress in test program generation methods, testing remains an extremely laborious process. One of the main reasons is that test program generation tools are unable to quickly enough adapt to changes. In the majority of cases, they are created for specific microprocessor types and are designed to solve specific tasks. For this reason, support for new microprocessors types and generation methods requires a significant effort. Often, in such situations, tools have to be implemented from scratch. Inability to reuse existing implementations of generation methods complicates evolution of test generation tools and, consequently, prevents improvement of testing quality. The present situation creates motivation to search for solutions to developing more flexible tools which could be easily adapted to testing new microprocessor types and applying new generation methods. The goal of the present work is to summarize existing experience in test program generation, which could serve as a basis for creating such tools. The paper considers strengths and weaknesses of popular generation methods, their application domains and cases of their combined use. It also makes a comparative analysis of facilities of existing generation tools implementing these methods. Based on the analysis, it gives recommendations on creating a unified methodology to develop tools for test program generation for microprocessors.

Keywords

microprocessors; hardware; functional verification; testing; test program generation

Edition

Proceedings of the Institute for System Programming, vol. 29, issue 1, 2017, pp. 167-194.

ISSN 2220-6426 (Online), ISSN 2079-8156 (Print).

DOI: 10.15514/ISPRAS-2017-29(1)-11

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