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back to article Swiss computing lab offers free bug-immunity tool

Federal boffins in Switzerland say they have developed a new, freely-downloadable tool which acts as an "immune system" to fight bugs in cloud software. The software, developed in the Dependable Systems lab at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), is called "Dimmunix". Its developers, led by lab chief George …

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Bronze badge

Depends on the kind of bug

I think the claim is too grand. The only way the idea can work is when it notices something amiss automatically, like an exception. But if the bug is something that just prints garbage to the user without crashing, I don't see how it could react.

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Bronze badge

RE: Depends on the kind of bug

The article over generalises, this software is aimed at one type of bug, i.e. Deadlocks. These are usually very hard to track down so if it works really works and it seems a sound idea it would be very welcome,

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Gold badge

Very hard to track down?

Debatable. The tool isn't claiming to be able to detect the possibility of deadlock, only the deadlock itself once it has happened. At that point, I dare say even Homer Simpson could tell you something had gone wrong.

The clever part is what to do with the deadlocked system. It is trivial to take a snapshot at that moment to record who owns what at the time of failure, so I imagine they are claiming to do something else. Perhaps they record the sequence of semaphore acquisitions (and related events) and do pattern matching (something computers are good at) so that when they see the same pattern emerging they can insert some randomness. That would be a bit of a band-aid, of interest only to end-users rather than programmers, contrary to the company's claims, but it actually sounds consistent with what they say. We can be fairly sure they haven't solved the halting problem, or "understood" the software better than the original programmers, so there's quite an aroma of snake oil here.

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Bronze badge

@Ken Hagan

It is very misleading. Paper they provide is interesting (skimming it now) but does not back up the snake oil garbage complete with cloud reference. It's not an external addon but 'Avoidance code can be directly instrumented into the target binary or can reside in a thread library'. It builds resource graphs and looks for cycles, in essence, and adds some sniffing code after cycle is detected. Pretty skanky solution. It should be possible to provide this stuff anyway, at lower resource cost, directly in the code. There are model checkers that can detect these things statically I understand (spin). Better than nothing I suppose.

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Silver badge
Coat

a new kind of DoS?

If I had such a tool installed on the crackpot PC (I won't mention the OS or any other details) here at my workplace it probably would refuse to boot up at all.

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Silver badge

CH Advanced Operand Support

An interesting development/programmer application but I suppose nothing to do with programming with impunity which would be something of a Holy Grail application, and which may very well consider full use of the Swiss federal boffinry.

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Dead Vulture

Turing, eat those shorts

Hey these guys must've solved the halting problem!

Good work!!

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FAIL

Umm

So, they've claimed to solve the Halting Problem them then ?

No ?

In that case it can't work as advertised. More snake oil please salesmen !

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FAIL

WTF?

So this claims to fix bugs that crash programs

... but what about the ones that lead to incorrect execution?

WTF...

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Terminator

suspicious

A computer that can fix itself?

How long before it decides that it's a bug that it doesn't have it's own infinite power supply and can be turned off? Or that everything would run much better if it could eliminate all the users typing garbage in?

Sounds like skynet people, judgement day is coming...

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Terminator

RE: suspicious

Skynet already exists

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_(satellites)

It's just waiting for someone to install this software, cos it can't do it itself (yet)

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Bronze badge

@all except vic 4: try following the link before commenting

first page says 'Dimmunix is a tool for giving software systems such an immune system against deadlock'.

See, easy innit.

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Unhappy

This sort of thing has happened before, Dave

and it has always been due to human error.

Don't go outside and leave the computer to let you back in.

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FAIL

Dimmunix, thanks for sharing...

I sure hope it asks if you want to "check onlilne for a solution".

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Silver badge
Coat

Schhhhh ....... Not a Word. Say Nothing. Careless Talk costs a Fortune.

The Skynet System would be very convenient for CyberIntelAIgent Security Operations .... Virtually Live Special Operations in Defence with Plausible Denial of Attack Vectors. Like who's gonna believe anyone when the say they are being invaded from Space by Alien Beings and secret and highly sensitive tricks and valuable leverage information is being spirited away?

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Coat

Dim Unix?

So it's really just a repacked (insert your least favorite Unix flavor), then?

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Anonymous Coward

Turing

Isn't this the halting problem?

Errm - you can never tell if it has failed or not, provably?

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Gates Halo

This sounds familiar

Windows 7 has a "shim" system for preventing recurrence of certain kinds of bugs in user software. It's not a very new idea, but it needs to be handled very carefully, and as everyone has been pointing out, because of the halting problem it can only ever work on specifically limited classes of bugs.

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