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Computer Thesis On Runtime Enforcement of Memory Safety ( C Language)

Title: Runtime Enforcement of Memory Safety for the C Programming Language
ABSTRACT: Memory access violations are a leading source of unreliability in C programs. Although the low-level features of the C programming language, like unchecked pointer arithmetic and explicit memory management, make it a desirable language for many programming tasks, their use often results in hard-to-detect memory errors. As evidence of this problem, a variety of methods exist for retrofitting C with software checks to detect memory errors at runtime. However, these techniques generally suffer from one or more practical drawbacks that have thus far limited their adoption. These weaknesses include the inability to detect all spatial and temporal violations, the use of incompatible metadata, the need for manual code modifications, and the tremendous runtime cost of providing complete safety. This dissertation introduces MemSafe, a compiler analysis and transformation for ensuring the memory safety of C programs at runtime while avoiding the above draw-backs. MemSafe makes several novel contributions that improve upon previous work and lower the runtime cost of achieving memory safety. These include (1) a method for modeling temporal errors as spatial errors, (2) a hybrid metadata representation that combines the most salient features of both object- and pointer-based approaches, and (3) a data-flow representation that simplifies optimizations for removing unneeded checks and unused metadata.
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Project Intro: This dissertation shows that an automatic compiler analysis and transformation technique is capable of ensuring the memory safety of C programs at runtime. A program is transformed such that it detects spatial and temporal memory errors before they occur, while remaining compatible with existing code and requiring lower runtime overhead than similar techniques. The motivation and contributions of this research are outlined below.

Projects, Thesis, Final Year Projects, IT, MBA, Seminar

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