Nowadays, there exists a wide variety of verification tools. Some, like SPIN, are designed and mainly used for the verification of software systems, such as communications protocols. Others, like VIS, are designed and used for hardware systems verification. In this paper, we compare and contrast SPIN and VIS. In particular, we devote a special attention to the efficiency of these tools for the verification of communications protocols that can be implemented either in software or hardware. As a basis of our comparison, we formally describe and verify the ATM Ring (ATMR) medium access protocol using SPIN and its hardware implementation using VIS. We believe that this study is of particular interest as more and more protocols, like the ATM protocol stack, are implemented in hardware to match the high speed requirements.
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