Parallelizing the Web Browser

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Executive Summary

Authors of this paper argue that the transition from laptops to handheld computers will happen only if they rethink the design of web browsers. Web browsers are an indispensable part of the end-user software stack but they are too inefficient for handhelds. While the laptop reused the software stack of its desktop ancestor, solid-state device trends suggest that today's browser designs will not become sufficiently (1) responsive and (2) energy-efficient. Authors also argue that browser improvements must go beyond JavaScript JIT compilation and discuss how parallelism may help achieve these two goals. Motivated by a future browser-based application, they describe the preliminary design of the parallel browser, its work-efficient parallel algorithms, and an actor-based scripting language.

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