The objective of NADA is the study of hardware systems and corresponding methodologies for description and design.
The areas of research include:
- developing new mathematical specification, refinement and verification methods for hardware designa and a rigourous mathematical theory for deductive hardware design
- a draft definition of a next generation hardware description language
- analysis of the general mathematical structures possessed by different kinds of hardware systemsand developing unified, technology-independent theories of hardware based on this analysis
- construction of a hierarchy of mathematical models for hardware reflecting various levels of abstraction and suitable notions of specification and correctness
- novel models of computers and computational behaviour based on nonlinear dynamical systems
- comprehensive theories concerning timing, parameterisation and modularisation in specifications and verifications allowing correctness concerns for hardware to be precisely defined
- integration of the concepts isolated in these studies into the draft definition of a next generation hardware description language
- development of mathematical methods from algebra and logic, adapted to the needs of hardware engineering
- logical and algebraic specification methods approaching industrial strength
- studies of the scope and limits of hardware modelling, specification and verification.
Besides cooperation in smaller subgroups on specific topics, there will be an annual central workshop bringing the threads of research together and allowing exchange with other workers in the field. Group members will also participate in workshops organised by other ESPRIT consortia.
Our research should be of direct use in the design of future generations of hardware. Research on description explicitly attempts to anticipate new trends in architectural design, eg neural networks and dynamical systems. The draft definition of a next-generation hardware description language will incorporate new hardware paradigms, approach industrial strength and be suitable for large-scale practical specification and design work. It will also be the basis for advanced software support tools that we believe will improve design productivity.
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