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Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Maciej Ciesielski

Second Advisor

George S. Avrunin

Third Advisor

Daniel Holcomb

Fourth Advisor

Weibo Gong

Subject Categories

VLSI and Circuits, Embedded and Hardware Systems


Despite a considerable progress in verification of random and control logic, advances in formal verification of arithmetic designs have been lagging. This can be attributed mostly to the difficulty of efficient modeling of arithmetic circuits and data paths without resorting to computationally expensive Boolean methods, such as Binary Decision Diagrams (BDDs) and Boolean Satisfiability (SAT) that require ``bit blasting'', i.e., flattening the design to a bit-level netlist. Similarly, approaches that rely on computer algebra and Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT) methods are either too abstract to handle the bit-level complexity of arithmetic designs or require solving computationally expensive decision or satisfiability problems. On the other hand, theorem provers, popular solvers used in industry, require a significant human interaction and intimate knowledge of the design to guide the proof process.

The work proposed in this thesis aims at overcoming the limitations of verifying arithmetic circuits, especially at the post-synthesis, implementation phase. It addresses the verification problem at an algebraic level, treating an arithmetic circuit and its specification as an algebraic system. Specifically, verification approach employed in this work is based on the algebraic rewriting method. In this method, the circuit is modeled in the algebraic domain, where both the circuit specification and its gate-level implementation are represented as polynomials. This work formally analyzes the algebraic approach and compares it with the established computer algebra methods based on Grobner basis reduction. It shows that algebraic rewriting is more effective than the Grobner basis reduction from the computational point of view.

This thesis addresses two classes of arithmetic circuits that could not directly benefit from this type of functional verification, since performing algebraic rewriting of such circuits encounters a serious memory issue. The circuits that fall in the first category are approximate arithmetic circuits, such as truncated integer multipliers. Different truncation schemes are considered, including bit deletion, bit truncation, and rounding. The proposed verification method is based on reconstructing the truncated multiplier to a complete, exact multiplier; it is then followed by algebraic rewriting to prove that it indeed implements multiplication over the required range of bits. The reconstruction of the multiplier helps avoid the memory overload issue as it creates a "clean" multiplier with a well defined specification polynomial.

The other class of circuits that suffer from memory overload during algebraic rewriting are circuits subjected to some arithmetic constraints. An example of such circuits is a divider, where the divisor value cannot be zero. The other example can be found in the basic blocks of the constant divider, where the value of carry into each block must be less than the divisor value. In general, such constraints will be modeled using the concept of vanishing monomials. A case-splitting method is proposed along with the modified algebraic rewriting to resolve the memory issue. The proposed verification method not only can prove that the circuit performs a correct function under the desired (valid) conditions, but also will test all the undesired (invalid) cases.

This work also addresses logic debugging of combinational arithmetic circuits over field F2k , including Galois field multipliers. Galois Field (GF) arithmetic has numerous applications in digital communication, cryptography and security engineering, and formal verification of such circuits is of prime importance. In addition to functional verification of GF multipliers, this work proposes a novel and effective method for identifying and correcting bugs in such circuits, commonly referred to as debugging. In this work we propose a novel approach to debugging of GF arithmetic circuits based on forward rewriting, which enables functional verification and debugging at the same time. This technique can handle multiple bugs, does not suffer from the polynomial size explosion encountered by other methods, and allows one to identify and automatically correct bugs in GF circuits.

The techniques and algorithms proposed in this dissertation have been implemented in several computer programs, some stand-alone, and some integrated with a popular synthesis and verification tool, ABC. The experimental results for verification and debugging are compared with the state-of-the-art SAT, SMT, and other computer algebraic solvers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, August 01, 2020