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Ben Zorn - Memory robustness with RobustHeap

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Ben Zorn gives an introduction to the problems of memory corruption. In particular, he talks about his work on new memory allocators that provide fault tolerance and detection of errors such as dangling pointers. Very cool whiteboard session, enjoy.

The Research in Software Engineering team (RiSE) coordinates Microsoft's research in Software Engineering in Redmond, USA.

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  • Is computer hardware able to monitor memory locations for references, either read or write, and signal a hardware interrupt on that reference? The idea being that any use by a program of memory between allocations in a heap would signal a hardware exception.

     
  • Computer hardware often allows a small number of memory watchpoints, that are typically used for debugging.  There have been proposals for hardware that allows many small independent memory protection regions (for example, Mondriaan Memory Protection by Emmett Witchel).  He's proposed using such a mechanism to detect illegal stores, however no current commercial hardware supports his mechanism.   There are also a number of papers describing either hardware or software mechanisms for detecting out-of-bounds reads and writes, and existing tools, such as BoundsChecker, can also be used.

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