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Description

Non-determinism makes concurrent bugs extremely dif?cult to reproduce and to debug. In this work, we propose a new debugging primitive to facilitate the debugging process by exposing this non-deterministic behavior to the programmer. The key idea is to generate a time-ordered trace of events such as function calls/returns and memory accesses across different threads. The architectural support for this primitive is lightweight, including a high-precision, frequency-invariant timestamp counter and an event trace buffer in each processor core. The proposed primitive continuously records and timestamps the last N function calls/returns per core by default, and can also be con?gured to watch speci?c memory addresses or code regions through a ?exible software interface. To examine the effectiveness of the proposed primitive, we studied a variety of concurrent bugs in large commercial software and our results show that exposing the time-ordered information, function calls/returns in particular, to the programmer is highly bene?cial for diagnosing the root causes of these bugs.

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