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Leveraging Fine-grained Data Flows in Web Applications

James Mickens ( Harvard University )
A modern web page contains megabytes of HTML, CSS, images, and JavaScript. Loading such a page requires a browser to evaluate a complex dependency graph involving those resources; once the page is loaded, subsequent interactions between those resources and the user can lead to tricky-to-diagnose bugs. In this talk, I'll describe how tracking fine-grained data flows can allow us to reduce page load times by prioritizing the loads of the highest ancestors in the data flow graph. I'll also describe initial work in using data flows to assist with time-travel debugging (in which developers use a logging-and-replay framework to analyze buggy program executions).

Speaker bio

James Mickens received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001. In 2008, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. After graduate school, Mickens went to Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, where he spent six years as a member of the Distributed Systems group. During the Fall 2014 semester, he was a Visiting Professor at MIT, working with the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group. In Fall 2015, he became an Associate Professor at Harvard.

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