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1. The Design and Implementation of Valgrind

1. The Design and Implementation of Valgrind

A number of academic publications nicely describe many aspects of Valgrind's design and implementation. Online copies of all of them, and others, are available on the Valgrind publications page.

The following paper gives a good overview of Valgrind, and explains how it differs from other dynamic binary instrumentation frameworks such as Pin and DynamoRIO.

  • Valgrind: A Framework for Heavyweight Dynamic Binary Instrumentation. Nicholas Nethercote and Julian Seward. Proceedings of ACM SIGPLAN 2007 Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI 2007), San Diego, California, USA, June 2007.

The following two papers together give a comprehensive description of how most of Memcheck works. The first paper describes in detail how Memcheck's undefined value error detection (a.k.a. V bits) works. The second paper describes in detail how Memcheck's shadow memory is implemented, and compares it to other alternative approaches.

  • Using Valgrind to detect undefined value errors with bit-precision. Julian Seward and Nicholas Nethercote. Proceedings of the USENIX'05 Annual Technical Conference, Anaheim, California, USA, April 2005.

    How to Shadow Every Byte of Memory Used by a Program. Nicholas Nethercote and Julian Seward. Proceedings of the Third International ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE 2007), San Diego, California, USA, June 2007.

The following paper describes Callgrind.

  • A Tool Suite for Simulation Based Analysis of Memory Access Behavior. Josef Weidendorfer, Markus Kowarschik and Carsten Trinitis. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS 2004), Krakow, Poland, June 2004.

The following dissertation describes Valgrind in some detail (many of these details are now out-of-date) as well as Cachegrind, Annelid and Redux. It also covers some underlying theory about dynamic binary analysis in general and what all these tools have in common.

  • Dynamic Binary Analysis and Instrumentation. Nicholas Nethercote. PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge, November 2004.



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