[Pl-seminar] 1/27 Seminar: John Vilk, Making the Browser Reasonable for Sane Programmers

Daniel Patterson dbp at ccs.neu.edu
Thu Jan 12 09:51:04 EST 2017

NUPRL Seminar presents

John Vilk
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Host: Ben Greenman

Friday, January 27th 2017
Room 366 WVH (http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/wand/directions.html)

Making the Browser Reasonable for Sane Programmers


Billions of people use browsers to access the web from a variety of
devices, but it remains difficult to write and debug the client-side of web
applications. The browser exposes unfamiliar, redundant, and incompatible
abstractions for a variety of common tasks, preventing developers from
adapting existing code written for other platforms. The browser environment
is completely event-driven and pervasively concurrent, resulting in complex
control flow and race conditions that are difficult to debug.

In this talk, I will describe how my research makes it easier to write and
debug web applications. Doppio is a JavaScript runtime system that lets
developers run unaltered code written in general-purpose languages, such as
Java and C/C++, directly inside the browser. Browsix further enhances
Doppio with a kernel, processes, and shared operating system resources,
letting multiple off-the-shelf programs concurrently interoperate on the
same webpage. ReJS is a low-overhead and high-fidelity time-traveling
debugger that lets developers instantaneously step forward and backward
through a program's execution. ReJS accurately recreates the application's
complete behavior, including the GUI and multiple types of race conditions,
while producing miniscule and portable application traces. These resources
transform the browser into a first-class application platform.


John Vilk is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Information and Computer
Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is a member of the
PLASMA lab, and is advised by Emery Berger. John's research aims to improve
the browser as an application platform by making it easier to write, debug,
and optimize complex web applications. John is a Facebook Fellow (2015),
and his work on Doppio: Breaking the Browser Language Barrier is a SIGPLAN
Research Highlight (2014) and a PLDI Distinguished Artifact (2014). His
research forms the basis of Microsoft ChakraCore's time-traveling debugger
and lets millions of people interact with legacy software and games in
their browser at the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/). John received
his MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2013) and his BS from
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2011).

You can learn more about John at his website, https://jvilk.com/.
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