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Intel Teaches Machines to Build Own Device Drivers

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Intel researchers are developing a method to automate the process of writing device drivers and porting them to different operating systems (OSes). The Intel team is collaborating with researchers at NICTA's Trustworthy Embedded Systems division, which is working on a device-driver synthesis project known as Termite.

"The goal of this work is eventually to have a tool chain that will work from formal specifications and automatically generate driver code that you can directly use," says Intel's Arun Raghunath. Intel's research is based on game theory. "You can view this as a game-play situation where, basically, the driver is one of the players in the game, and the environment--which is the OS and the device and whatever else happens there--is the other player," Raghunath says.

As the game plays out, the tool records its winning moves and develops a driver from what it learns. The game theory model allows the device-driver synthesis algorithm to be completely independent from the OS and the device that it is negotiating with.

"I think the way we see this being used is--the hardware manufacturer, when they come up with their device, they also emit a spec, they give you a device spec with that, which they can give to platform companies or the OEMs who build the platforms into which these devices will go," Raghunath says.

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