Introduction to Symbolic Debuggers


Debuggers are one of the most important tools in the programmer’s toolkit, but also one of the most overlooked pieces of technology. They have to work in some of the harshest conditions, supporting a huge set of programming languages and aggressive transformations by compilers. What makes them work? And when don’t they work?

In this talk, Samy Bahra, CTO & Co-Founder of Backtrace will take you on a journey to some of the darkest and most confusing pits of systems programming involving debug formats, compilers and process control. You will:

  • See how symbolic debuggers generally work
  • Learn the challenges of debug information in the presence of modern compilers and associated optimizations
  • Understand why you are getting incorrect information from your symbolic              debuggers and potential mitigations\

Speaker: Samy Bahra, CTO & Co-Founder, Backtrace

Samy Al Bahra is the cofounder of Backtrace, where he is helping build a modern debugging platform for today’s complex applications. Prior to Backtrace, Samy was a principal engineer at AppNexus, where he his work was instrumental in scaling the system to 18 billion impressions with orders of magnitude in efficiency improvements. At the George Washington University High Performance Computing Laboratory, Samy worked on the UPC programming language, heterogeneous computing, and multicore synchronization. Samy is also the founder of the Concurrency Kit project, which is part of the FreeBSD kernel and is used by several leading technology companies for scalability and performance. Samy serves on the ACM Queue Editorial Board.