CAV 2005 Invited Talk

Validating a Modern Microprocessor

Bob Bentley

Intel Corporation


Moore's Law continues to drive an inexorable increase in the number of transistors that can be integrated onto a single die. Computer architects and designers continue to find ways to use all of these transistors to produce ever more complex microprocessors. Meanwhile, market forces are dictating a shorter time to market, a proliferation of product SKUs and steeper volume ramps in production.

Using examples and data drawn from Intel's Pentium(r) 4 processor family, this lecture will attempt to provide: (1) an overview of the microprocessor design process; (2) an overview of the validation process, including the trade-off between dynamic validation and formal verification; (3) a description of how formal verification is applied to microprocessor design at Intel; and (4) a summary of the most important research opportunities and issues that we face going forward to the next new generation of microprocessor designs.

Bob Bentley is the Pre-Silicon Validation Manager for Intel's DPG CPU Design organization in Oregon, responsible for pre-silicon validation of the P6 and Pentium(r) 4 families of microprocessors. In his 20-year career at Intel he has worked on system performance evaluation, processor architecture, microprocessor logic validation and system validation in both pre- and post-silicon environments. He has a BS in Computer Science from the University of St. Andrews, and is a member of ACM and IEEE.