Trustworthy Systems

Improved device driver reliability through hardware verification reuse


Leonid Ryzhyk, John Keys, Balachandra Mirla, Arun Raghunath, Mona Vij and Gernot Heiser



Intel Corporation


Faulty device drivers are a major source of operating system failures. We argue that the underlying cause of many driver faults is the separation of two highly-related tasks: device verification and driver development. These two tasks have a lot in common, and result in software that is conceptually and functionally similar, yet kept totally separate. The result is a particularly bad case of duplication of effort: the verification code is correct, but is discarded after the device has been manufactured; the driver code is inferior, but used in actual device operation. We claim that the two tasks, and the software they produce, can and should be unified, and this will result in drastic improvement of device-driver quality and reduction in the development cost and time to market.

In this paper we propose a device driver design and verification workflow that achieves such unification. We apply this workflow to develop and test drivers for four different I/O devices and demonstrate that it improves the driver test coverage and allows detecting driver defects that are extremely hard to find using conventional testing techniques.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Newport Beach, CA, USA},
    author           = {Ryzhyk, Leonid and Keys, John and Mirla, Balachandra and Raghunath, Arun and Vij, Mona and Heiser,
    booktitle        = {International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems},
    month            = mar,
    pages            = {1--12},
    paperurl         = {},
    title            = {Improved Device Driver Reliability Through Hardware Verification Reuse},
    year             = {2011}