UT designs functional programming language that reduces design costs chips




ICT researchers from the University of Twente have developed a functional programming language that allows chip designers to prove that the behavior of chips by adjustments do not change. This should make the design cheaper.

An important part of the research of the University of Twente for the development of the CλaSH compiler. This compiler converts the functional language Haskell , the first version of which appeared in 1990, and to use similar syntax and semantics. A functional language is used to describe hardware: combinatorial circuits can be modeled as mathematical functions. CλaSH cast on the high-level descriptions to go to the hardware description language VHDL on a lower level.

“During the design of new chips manufacturers use the same techniques for twenty years. It should be thoroughly tested after each step in the design process,” according to the University of Twente. Modifications to the design, to make chips faster for example, can have unintended effects and cause major problems.

“Where are you as a software developer can still repair a fault code by sending a patch, you have a flaw in a chip describe all this chip is incorporated, recall”, explains researcher Christiaan Baaij out. As Intel saw in 2011 forced to halt production of Sandy Bridge chipsets because of a design flaw.

Using a modern functional language as CλaSH enables designers are now able to formally prove that hardware transformations do not affect the behavior of chips. The advantage of the method would be that it is no longer necessary to constantly verify all at each step in the design process. The method involves the complexity and cost of chip production also back, the researchers said.

The research was conducted in the Department of Computer Architecture for Embedded Systems CTIT research institute of the University of Twente. According to the University of Twente, there is great interest from industry, but companies are reluctant to switch to functional languages.

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