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Wednesday 12:00-12:45 – Convention Ctr - Exhibit Hall 4A

4 GCspy: An Adaptable Heap Visualisation Framework

Tony Printezis
University of Glasgow, tony@dcs.gla.ac.uk
Richard Jones
University of Kent at Canterbury, R.E.Jones@ukc.ac.uk

Deep understanding of program behaviour is essential to the design of the next generation of garbage collectors and explicit allocators. GCspy provides a novel framework and visualisation tool for memory management implementers that minimises impact on the host system, scales to allow visualisation of very large heaps, and is portable and easily incorporated into any JVM or other system.

GCspy allows visualisation of different garbage collectors and ancillary data structures by mapping components onto simle abstractions. The visualisation tool can then be configured dynamically to display in real-time the behaviour of the target system.

The demonstration will show how GCspy can visualise a range of different collectors from different JVMsvisualise different aspects of each component of each collectorpresent concisely the evolution of an application’s behaviourcontrol the volume of data collected and transmittedattach to and detach from running systems, local or remote

The visualiser is written in Java, but the system to be visualised can be in any language (we have used JVMs written in C and Java). The framework uses a client-server mechanism (over sockets). Most of the framework is generic: to add GCspy to a new JVM requires only a small ‘server’ module to be portedto visualise a new collector with GCspy only requires the addition of simple data gathering code and a ‘driver’ (to map the information collected to GCspy abstractions).