Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Auckland University rr Talk Next Week

I'm scheduled to give a talk at Auckland University next Wednesday on rr.

25 March 2015

12 - 1pm

Venue: 303S - 561, City Campus

Host: Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland

Note: Informal discussion and light refreshments 1 - 2 pm

Speaker: Dr Robert O'Callahan

Abstract: Mozilla's browser developers find debugging expensive and frustrating, especially when bugs are non-deterministic. Researchers have proposed to expedite debugging by recording, replaying and analyzing program executions, and in theory such techniques are well-understood, but they have not yet been widely adopted. Mozilla Research aims to understand and bridge this adoption gap by building a record-and-replay-based debugger that Mozilla's developers actually want to use. This talk will describe some barriers to adoption and how we have addressed them in the design and implementation of 'rr': a lightweight tool which can record unmodified Firefox binaries with less than 1.3x run-time overhead, exactly replay those executions under the control of gdb, and emulate reverse-execution --- using only standard Linux kernel APIs on stock hardware. 'rr' has been used to debug many real Firefox bugs. Furthermore it provides low-overhead recording, replaying, checkpointing and reverse-execution of Linux processes in an open-source tool, opening up many interesting avenues for future work. I will also discuss some of the implications for hardware and software design as record-and-replay becomes more popular.

Bio: Robert O'Callahan is a Distinguished Engineer at Mozilla Corporation, focusing on the development of Web standards and their implementation in Firefox, with a particular focus on CSS, graphics and media APIs. He has a side interest in research on software development, and debugging in particular. 'rr' is the first research tool he ever built that he actually wants to use.


  1. I'd like to watch this talk, but not enough to take two 16-hour plane trips :)

    Do you know if there will be video posted?

    1. I don't know, but I'll blog if there is.

    2. No recording unfortunately.