First Advisor

Fei Xie

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science


Computer Science




Computer network protocols -- Design, System design, Computer systems -- Verification, Computer interfaces -- Design and construction



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 202 p.) : ill.


Hardware/Software (HW/SW) interfaces are pervasive in computer systems. However, many HW/SW interface implementations are unreliable due to their intrinsically complicated nature. In industrial settings, there are three major challenges to improving reliability. First, as there is no systematic framework for HW/SW interface specifications, interface protocols cannot be precisely conveyed to engineers. Second, as there is no unifying formal model for representing the implementation semantics of HW/SW interfaces accurately, some critical properties cannot be formally verified on HW/SW interface implementations. Finally, few automatic tools exist to help engineers in HW/SW interface development. In this dissertation, we present an automata-theoretic approach to HW/SW co-verification that addresses these challenges. We designed a co-specification framework to formally specify HW/SW interface protocols; we synthesized a hybrid Büchi Automaton Pushdown System, namely Büchi Pushdown System (BPDS), as the unifying formal model for HW/SW interfaces; and we created a co-verification tool, CoVer that implements our model checking algorithms and realizes our reduction algorithms for BPDS. The application of our approach to the Windows device/driver framework has resulted in the detection of fifteen specification issues. Furthermore, utilizing CoVer, we discovered twelve real bugs in five drivers. These non-trivial findings have demonstrated the significance of our approach in industrial applications.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Computer Science

Persistent Identifier