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Valgrind 3.3 - Advanced Debugging and Profiling for GNU/Linux applications
by J. Seward, N. Nethercote, J. Weidendorfer and the Valgrind Development Team
Paperback (6"x9"), 164 pages
ISBN 0954612051
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14 The Design and Implementation of Valgrind

A number of academic publications nicely describe many aspects of Valgrind's design and implementation. Online copies of all of them, and others, are available at http://valgrind.org/docs/pubs.html.

A good top-level overview of Valgrind is given in:

Valgrind: A Framework for Heavyweight Dynamic Binary Instrumentation. Nicholas Nethercote and Julian Seward. Proceedings of ACM SIGPLAN 2007 Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI 2007), San Diego, California, USA, June 2007. This paper describes how Valgrind works, and how it differs from other DBI frameworks such as Pin and DynamoRIO.

The following two papers together give a comprehensive description of how Memcheck works:

Using Valgrind to detect undefined value errors with bit-precision. Julian Seward and Nicholas Nethercote. Proceedings of the USENIX'05 Annual Technical Conference, Anaheim, California, USA, April 2005. This paper describes in detail how Memcheck's undefined value error detection (a.k.a. V bits) works.

How to Shadow Every Byte of Memory Used by a Program. Nicholas Nethercote and Julian Seward. Proceedings of the Third International ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE 2007), San Diego, California, USA, June 2007. This paper describes in detail how Memcheck's shadow memory is implemented, and compares it to other alternative approaches.

The following paper describes Callgrind:

A Tool Suite for Simulation Based Analysis of Memory Access Behavior. Josef Weidendorfer, Markus Kowarschik and Carsten Trinitis. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS 2004), Krakow, Poland, June 2004. This paper describes Callgrind.

The following dissertation describes Valgrind in some detail (some of these details are now out-of-date) as well as Cachegrind, Annelid and Redux. It also covers some underlying theory about dynamic binary analysis in general and what all these tools have in common:

Dynamic Binary Analysis and Instrumentation. Nicholas Nethercote. PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge, November 2004.

ISBN 0954612051Valgrind 3.3 - Advanced Debugging and Profiling for GNU/Linux applicationsSee the print edition