ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR) 2021
Hardware verification of modern electronic systems has been identified as a major bottleneck due to the increasing complexity and time-to-market constraints. One of the major objectives in hardware verification is to drastically reduce the validation and debug time without sacrificing the design quality. Assertion-based verification is a promising avenue for efficient hardware validation and debug. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey of recent progress in assertion-based hardware verification. Specifically, we outline how to define assertions using temporal logic to specify expected behaviors in different abstraction levels. Next, we describe state-of-the art approaches for automated generation of assertions. We also discuss test generation techniques for activating assertions to ensure that the generated assertions are valid. Finally, we present both pre-silicon and post-silicon assertion-based validation approaches that utilize simulation, formal methods as well as hybrid techniques. We conclude with a discussion on utilizing assertions for verifying both functional and non-functional requirements.