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Stamping Out Concurrency Bugs

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The shift to multi-core architectures in the past ten years pushed developers to write concurrent software to leverage hardware parallelism. The transition to multi-core hardware happened at a more rapid pace than the evolution of associated programming techniques and tools, which made it difficult to write concurrent programs that are both efficient and correct. Failures due to concurrency bugs are often hard to reproduce and fix, and can cause significant losses.

In this talk, I will first give an overview of the techniques we developed for the detection, root cause diagnosis, and classification of concurrency bugs. Then, I will discuss how the techniques we developed have been adopted at Microsoft and Intel. I will then discuss in detail Gist, a technique for the root cause diagnosis of failures. Gist uses hybrid static-dynamic program analysis and gathers information from real user executions to isolate root causes of failures. Gist is highly accurate and efficient, even for failures that rarely occur in production. Finally, I will close by describing future work I plan to do toward solving the challenges posed to software systems by emerging technology trends.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Cambridge, public talks series.

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