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Mark Marron - Visualizing and Understanding Heap Structure

15 minutes, 6 seconds


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In this video, Mark Marron, who is visiting the Research in Software Engineering group (RiSE) for the summer, describes some work and gives a short demo on a technique for visualizing and understanding a program’s runtime memory structure (which data structures are built, how big they are, how they are connected, etc.).

During the demo, he shows how the technique can be used to visualize a 150K object heap dump to quickly find out which parts are using the most memory, which also helps us learn about how the program is using these objects (including finding a “quadtree” that is not really a tree).

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


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  • Apple keyboard in the background - great product.

  • First fail was to code it in C# ( it's not known for it's efficiency, good for prototyping ideas though, not good for much else )

    If you want to be called lazy-a**-programmer behind you back then use C#, basically.


    There's are many very good reasons nasa use C++ for their rovers on mars ! 


    I do hope these heap tools can be used with C++

  • interesting stuff, are the tools displayed available to try out? - loved the buzzing pens in the video Smiley

  • Glad that you liked the video, using the magic whiteboard pens was definitely an interesting experience. As for the tools, unfortunately we don't currently have anything that is ready to try out. Our goal is definitely to have tools that people can use but for now we are focused on experiementing with various development scenarios where this kind of visualization could be useful, how best convey information in the visualization (e.g. using color), and learing about the features of dgml (the new format for graph drawing/navigation in VS 2k10).





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