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What are the Semantics of Hardware?

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Gilbert Bernstein, Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Berkeley
Ross Daly, PhD Student, Stanford University 
Date: April 1, 2021

Recently, numerous hardware description, hardware generator languages, and intermediate representations have been developed to facilitate creation and programming of new accelerators. These languages require a reference interpreter to describe their semantics. These semantics differ according to the level of abstraction at which a circuit is described. We propose an endeavor to formalize and relate each level of semantics using abstract interpretation. This presentation will give background on abstract interpretation and show how it can be applied to a-temporal circuit semantics, discuss the notion of ‘X’ and ‘Z’, and discuss future directions for temporal semantics and beyond.

What are the Semantics of Hardware? (Gilbert Bernstein, UC Berkeley & Ross Daly, Stanford University)