ISA Semantics for ARMv8-A, RISC-V, and CHERI-MIPS

Alasdair Armstrong, Thomas Bauereiss, Brian Campbell, Alastair Reid, Kathryn E. Gray, Robert M. Norton, Prashanth Mundkur, Mark Wassell, Jon French, Christopher Pulte, Shaked Flur, Ian Stark, Neel Krishnaswami, Peter Sewell

[pdf] [doi]

Proc. 46th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages
Volume 3
Cascais/Lisbon, Portugal
January 2019

Abstract

Architecture specifications notionally define the fundamental interface between hardware and software: the envelope of allowed behaviour for processor implementations, and the basic assumptions for software development and verification. But in practice, they are typically prose and pseudocode documents, not rigorous or executable artifacts, leaving software and verification on shaky ground.

In this paper, we present rigorous semantic models for the sequential behaviour of large parts of the mainstream ARMv8-A, RISC-V, and MIPS architectures, and the research CHERI-MIPS architecture, that are complete enough to boot operating systems, variously Linux, FreeBSD, or seL4. Our ARMv8-A models are automatically translated from authoritative ARM-internal definitions, and (in one variant) tested against the ARM Architecture Validation Suite.

We do this using a custom language for ISA semantics, Sail, with a lightweight dependent type system, that supports automatic generation of emulator code in C and OCaml, and automatic generation of proof-assistant definitions for Isabelle, HOL4, and (currently only for MIPS) Coq. We use the former for validation, and to assess specification coverage. To demonstrate the usability of the latter, we prove (in Isabelle) correctness of a purely functional characterisation of ARMv8-A address translation. We moreover integrate the RISC-V model into the RMEM tool for (user-mode) relaxed-memory concurrency exploration. We prove (on paper) the soundness of the core Sail type system.

We thereby take a big step towards making the architectural abstraction actually well-defined, establishing foundations for verification and reasoning.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{conf/popl19/armstrong , abstract = {Architecture specifications notionally define the fundamental interface between hardware and software: the envelope of allowed behaviour for processor implementations, and the basic assumptions for software development and verification. But in practice, they are typically prose and pseudocode documents, not rigorous or executable artifacts, leaving software and verification on shaky ground.

In this paper, we present rigorous semantic models for the sequential behaviour of large parts of the mainstream ARMv8-A, RISC-V, and MIPS architectures, and the research CHERI-MIPS architecture, that are complete enough to boot operating systems, variously Linux, FreeBSD, or seL4. Our ARMv8-A models are automatically translated from authoritative ARM-internal definitions, and (in one variant) tested against the ARM Architecture Validation Suite.

We do this using a custom language for ISA semantics, Sail, with a lightweight dependent type system, that supports automatic generation of emulator code in C and OCaml, and automatic generation of proof-assistant definitions for Isabelle, HOL4, and (currently only for MIPS) Coq. We use the former for validation, and to assess specification coverage. To demonstrate the usability of the latter, we prove (in Isabelle) correctness of a purely functional characterisation of ARMv8-A address translation. We moreover integrate the RISC-V model into the RMEM tool for (user-mode) relaxed-memory concurrency exploration. We prove (on paper) the soundness of the core Sail type system.

We thereby take a big step towards making the architectural abstraction actually well-defined, establishing foundations for verification and reasoning. } , address = {New York, NY, USA} , ar_file = {POPL_19} , ar_shortname = {POPL 19} , author = { Alasdair Armstrong and Thomas Bauereiss and Brian Campbell and Alastair Reid and Kathryn E. Gray and Robert M. Norton and Prashanth Mundkur and Mark Wassell and Jon French and Christopher Pulte and Shaked Flur and Ian Stark and Neel Krishnaswami and Peter Sewell } , booktitle = {Proc. 46th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages} , day = {13-19} , doi = {10.1145/3290384} , file = {popl19-isasemantics.pdf} , journal = {PACMPL} , location = {Cascais/Lisbon, Portugal} , month = {January} , number = {POPL} , numpages = {31} , pages = {71:1--71:31} , publisher = {ACM} , title = {I{S}A {S}emantics for {A}RMv8-{A}, {R}IS{C}-V, and {C}HE{R}I-{M}IP{S}} , volume = {3} , year = {2019} }