Hyperblock Scheduling for Verified High-Level Synthesis

High-level synthesis (HLS) is the automatic compilation of software programs into custom hardware designs. With programmable hardware devices (such as FPGAs) now widespread, HLS is increasingly relied upon, but existing HLS tools are too unreliable for safety- and security-critical applications. Herklotz et al. partially addressed this concern by building Vericert, a prototype HLS tool that is proven correct in Coq (à la CompCert), but it cannot compete performance-wise with unverified tools. This paper reports on our efforts to close this performance gap, thus obtaining the first practical verified HLS tool. We achieve this by implementing a flexible operation scheduler based on hyperblocks (basic blocks of predicated instructions) that supports operation chaining (packing dependent operations into a single clock cycle). Correctness is proven via translation validation: each schedule is checked using a Coq-verified validator that uses a SAT solver to reason about predicates. Avoiding exponential blow-up in this validation process is a key challenge, which we address by using final-state predicates and value summaries. Experiments on the PolyBench/C suite indicate that scheduling makes Vericert-generated hardware 2.1x faster, thus bringing Vericert into competition with a state-of-the-art open-source HLS tool when a similar set of optimisations is enabled.