Program Slicing of Hardware Description Languages

E.M. Clarke, M. Fujita, S.P.Rajan, T. Reps, S. Shankar, and T. Teitelbaum

Hardware description languages (HDLs) are used today to describe circuits at all levels. In large HDL programs, there is a need for source code reduction techniques to address a myriad of problems in formal verification, design, simulation, and testing. Program slicing is a static program analysis technique that allows an analyst to automatically extract portions of programs relevant to the aspects being analyzed. We extend program slicing to HDLs, thus allowing for automatic program reduction to allow the user to focus on relevant code portions. We have implemented a VHDL slicing tool composed of a general inter-procedural slicer and a front-end that captures VHDL execution semantics. This paper provides an overview of program slicing, a discussion of how to slice VHDL programs, a description of the resulting tool, and a brief overview of some applications and experimental results.

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