Unified HW/SW Coverage: A Novel Metric to Boost Coverage-guided Fuzzing for Virtual Prototype based HW/SW Co-Verification

Niklas Bruns; Vladimir Herdt; Rolf Drechsler

In: Forum on Specification & Design Languages (FDL). Forum on Specification & Design Languages (FDL-2022), September 14-16, Linz, Austria, 2022.


Coverage-guided Fuzzing (CGF) has been shown to be a very effective verification technique in the Software (SW) domain. However, the application of CGF in the embedded system domain is much more limited so far. Beside the necessary integration effort of the fuzzing engine, a main limiting factor is the employed coverage metric to guide the CGF process. Since embedded systems integrate Hardware (HW) and SW parts, the coverage metric should reflect both parts instead of reasoning exclusively about the SW execution in the CGF process. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a novel unified HW/SW coverage metric to boost state-of-the-art CGF for HW/SW coverification. Following the modern design flow for embedded systems, we leverage a Virtual Prototype (VP) to represent the HW part. We designed effective representations of the unified HW/SW coverage to capture all relevant coverage information at run time in the VP and tailored it for integration with a modern CGF process. Our RISC-V experiments demonstrate the practical applicability of our proposed approach. Our proposed unified HW/SW coverage can be effectively managed at runtime and enables to reach deeper bugs compared to existing state-ofthe-art CGF.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence