Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version

June 2002

Document Type

Journal Article


Copyright 2002 IEEE. Reprinted from IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Volume 13, Issue 6, June 2002, pages 556-578.

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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Milo K. Martin, was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. Currently March 2007, he is a faculty with the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania.


In this paper, we develop a specification methodology that documents and specifies a cache coherence protocol in eight tables: the states, events, actions, and transitions of the cache and memory controllers. We then use this methodology to specify a detailed, modern three-state broadcast snooping protocol with an unordered data network and an ordered address network that allows arbitrary skew. We also present a detailed specification of a new protocol called Multicast Snooping [6] and, in doing so, we better illustrate the utility of the table-based specification methodology. Finally, we demonstrate a technique for verification of the Multicast Snooping protocol, through the sketch of a manual proof that the specification satisfies a sequentially consistent memory model.


cache coherence, protocol specification, protocol verification, memory consistency, multicast snooping



Date Posted: 26 March 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.