MemTracker: An Accelerator for Memory Debugging and Monitoring

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Executive Summary

Memory bugs are a broad class of bugs that is becoming increasingly common with increasing software complexity, and many of these bugs are also security vulnerabilities. Existing software and hardware approaches for finding and identifying memory bugs have a number of drawbacks including considerable performance overheads, target only a specific type of bug, implementation cost, and inefficient use of computational resources. This paper describes MemTracker, a new hardware support mechanism that can be configured to perform different kinds of memory access monitoring tasks. MemTracker associates each word of data in memory with a few bits of state, and uses a programmable state transition table to react to different events that can affect this state.

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