System-level specification framework for I/O architectures


Journal Article

A computer system is useless unless it can interact with the outside world through input/output (I/O) devices. I/O systems are complex, including aspects such as memory-mapped operations, interrupts, and bus bridges. Often, I/O behavior is described for isolated devices without a formal description of how the complete I/O system behaves. The lack of an end-to-end system description makes the tasks of system programmers and hardware implementors more difficult to do correctly. This paper proposes a framework for formally describing I/O architectures called Wisconsin I/O (WIO). WIO extends work on memory consistency models (that formally specify the behavior of normal memory) to handle considerations such as memory-mapped operations, device operations, interrupts, and operations with side effects. Specifically, WIO asks each processor or device that can issue k operation types to specify ordering requirements in a k×k table. A system obeys WIO if there always exists a total order of all operations that respects processor and device ordering requirements and has the value of each `read' equal to the value of the most recent `write' to that address. This paper then presents examples of WIO specifications for systems with various memory consistency models including sequential consistency (SC), SPARC TSO, an approximation of Intel IA-32, and Compaq Alpha. Finally, we present a directory-based implementation of an SC system, and we sketch a proof which shows that the implementation conforms to its WIO specification.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hill, MD; Condon, AE; Plakal, M; Sorin, DJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 1999

Published In

  • Annual Acm Symposium on Parallel Algorithms and Architectures

Start / End Page

  • 138 - 147

Citation Source

  • Scopus