The Java language combines object-oriented and concurrency

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Graphical Visualization of Java Objects,

Threads, and Locks

Isabelle Attali, Denis Caromel, and Marjorie Russo INRIA, CNRS-I3S, University of Nice - Sophia Antipolis

T

he Java language combines object-oriented and concurrency

features. Both sets of features are difficult to understand and handle, and combining them increases their complexity. A program developer must be aware of objects that become locked and unreachable.

Another concern is static variables, which objects can access without an explicit reference to the variables and which consequently might require unexpected locking. Objects shared by two threads can lead to a concurrent access, raising a potential synchronization problem.

Deadlocks are difficult to track and handle, so debugging threaded applications is very difficult.

Jitan, a visualization environment for concurrent, object-oriented programming—more specifically, for Java—provides interesting and useful solutions to these problems. Developed in the INRIA (France's national computer science research institute) Oasis project, Jitan

provides both textual and graphical visualization of objects and thread activities at execution, including the object graph's topology, thread activities and status, locks, and synchronizations. Graph-oriented object visualization provides important information simply and

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its specific architecture based on interpretation and animation of an executable, operational Java semantics. Another important

contribution is its techniques for graphically visualizing objects, threads, and locks.

From the tool designer's point of view, Jitan's formal foundation has these advantages:

l Specifications are related to Java source code; therefore, we are not limited to

any Java virtual machine (standard, proprietary, or modified). Instead, we interpret the program's source (not the bytecode), using semantic rules related to Java source constructors. With the executable semantic approach, symbolic debugging requires no further program development.

l Generating the tool from specifications requires only simple instrumentations at

the semantic level. For instance, switching from Java 1.1 to Java 1.2 requires only changes in the specification, not in the environment definition.

The formal foundation also has advantages from the Java developer's point of view:

l Direct interpretation enables interactive debugging. l No instrumentation is required at the source level.

l Because interpretation takes place at the source level, developers have a better

understanding of program behavior, thanks to the link between execution and source code.

l The effects of program execution are shown on the fly, via visualization and

animation of the program interpretation.

l Jitan can complement traditional debugging tools.

The principles we use for graphical visualization of objects, threads, and locks apply to other Java environments, as well as to other languages with object-oriented and concurrent features.

Objects and concurrency in Java

Java is a concurrent, class-based, object-oriented programming

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creates objects (the main entities representing the program's execution), modifies them, and updates object references. A

program's behavior during execution is therefore described by the evolution of its object list. We can distinguish particular objects called threads. Threads have an activity (a state)—that is, a stack of

successive calls (a continuation)—and a status (created, runnable, executing, blocked, dormant, dead).[2] A thread in runnable status can become executing at the next execution step, whereas a blocked thread must wait for a lock release on the considered object.

Threads can execute simultaneously (on a multiprocessor

architecture) or with interleaving (on a monoprocessor computer). Java provides a mechanism by which programmers can obtain a deterministic behavior for a given Java program in critical sections, using monitorlike synchronizations. This mechanism relies on locks; one lock is associated with each Java object.

Because these characteristics can be difficult to understand, we

illustrate the model's main features using the classical Java producer-consumer program[3] shown in Figure 1. The program involves two consumers and one producer of data (an integer). The producer must put successive data items into a cubbyhole; two consumers then read the data items. Consumers cannot read a data item before the

producer puts its first data item into the cubbyhole, and the producer must not put in a new data item if the previous one has not been read by both consumers. This example introduces several Java concepts: object and thread creation, concurrent execution, synchronized

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The program consists of four classes: ProdCons, CubbyHole, Consumer, and Producer. ProdCons is the program's main class. Execution starts with the program's main thread, which successively creates one cubbyhole object, one consumer thread, one producer thread, and finally another consumer thread. Three calls to the start method start the three created threads, which execute concurrently (with interleaving on a monoprocessor computer). Each thread

executes the run method defined in the class corresponding to its type. The two consumers try to read the value contained in the

cubbyhole, and the producer tries to put a value in the cubbyhole. To avoid conflicts in accessing the cubbyhole, the put and get methods are declared synchronized—that is, they are declared critical sections. To prevent deadlocks, the wait method releases the lock hold on the cubbyhole if the data has not been read by both consumers or put in the cubbyhole by the producer. Execution ends when all threads have executed their main (for the main thread ProdCons) or run method (for other threads).

Jitan vs. other tools

Several systems have been developed to help Java programmers write Java programs or, more generally, object-oriented and concurrent

programs. These systems mainly provide visualization and debugging tools. (See

http://www.andromeda.com/people/ddyer/java/Reviews.html for Dave Dyer's exhaustive review of Java tools. Also see Carl Dichter's “We Test the Top Java Visual IDEs” at

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Comparing Jitan with other Java development environments, we can highlight several common features: assistance for syntactic

constructs, interactive debugging, examination of data contents, and visualization of thread activities and status. These features are

minimal requirements for a modern development environment.

Our tool's more advanced features make a significant contribution to the field of development environments. The first is its graphical

visualization of the object graph's topology. Other graphical environments exist—Javelin and CodeWarrior, for example, are

commercial tools that are radically graphical. They present classes as boxes connected by lines representing inheritance. The boxes contain data and methods of the class and can be graphically edited. But this information, such as class hierarchy, is static; graphical visualization of dynamic information, such as references between objects, is more useful to the programmer. Moreover, visualizing synchronizations between threads is of major importance in threaded programming. Some systems—SuperCede Java, CodeWarrior, Kawa, and

NuMega—show dynamic information (objects), but their textual presentation is tree-oriented, not graph-oriented. Metamata mostly presents textual information (such as program source, a command line interpreter, and values of chosen variables). It presents no global view, so the user must compare the values of variables to detect

shared objects or cycles. Jitan's graph-oriented topology visualization makes this kind of information immediately obvious.

The second important feature is interactive debugging. Jitan requires no compilation at all, in contrast to the incremental recompilation after modification or addition of a breakpoint that is usually necessary in other tools. (The exception is SuperCede Java, in which you can modify a running program without restarting it.) Jitan owes this capability to the fact that its debugger is not based on bytecode

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Deriving a visualization environment

We derived Jitan from Java's syntactic specifications and an

operational semantics of the language based on Natural Semantics[4] and Structural Operational Semantics.[5] We wrote these

specifications within Centaur, a generic programming environment.[6] From the syntactic and semantic specifications of a given language, Centaur automatically produces a syntactic editor and semantic tools such as type checkers and interpreters for the language.

Syntactic specifications

Java's syntactical specification includes a concrete and an abstract syntax of the language. From this specification (written in Metal[7]), we derived a parser that transforms a program's textual form (a source file) into a structural representation (a syntactically correct abstract syntax tree). Jitan represents every structured object as an abstract syntax tree.

For example, Figure 2 shows the abstract syntax tree corresponding to the expression Obj.m_name(Expr1, Expr2). Operator names, in

lowercase, represent tree nodes; type names, starting with an uppercase letter, define tree edges. The leaves are either variable names (like m_name in this example) or constants (values). The abstract syntax so defined includes 128 operators and 56 types

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Figure 2. An abstract syntax tree for a method call.

Semantic specifications

We adopted the Natural Semantics style (also called big-step

semantics) to describe object-oriented features. We used Structural Operational Semantics (or small-step semantics) to specify the

multithreading semantics. Centaur handles semantics with the Typol formalism, an implementation of the Natural Semantics approach. Because this formalism is based on a logical framework, it is highly declarative and expressive but also executable.

Our operational semantics simulates concurrency with a deterministic thread interleaving. Currently, programmers can't choose a particular interleaving or act on the scheduler. We express Java operational semantics in terms of a transition system, modeling possible

transitions from one configuration to another. By configuration, we mean all thread activities at a given program execution time. We

model objects, threads, and configurations (a pair of objects and static variables) as semantic structures.

Description of Typol

We represent a Typol specification by an unordered collection of

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Each inference rule consists of a finite set of premises (which is empty for an axiom) and a conclusion. The premises (above the line) and the conclusion (below the line) are relations represented by sequents that express properties. Typol rules indicate how to deduce a sequent from other sequents. We manipulate object languages via their abstract syntax. A sequent expresses the fact that some hypothesis (the term list to the left of the sequent symbol) is necessary to prove a

particular property about an abstract syntax term called the subject. In the evaluateExpression example, the subject of the rule named Assignment_Rule is the abstract syntax term assignment(Variable, Expr) corresponding to the usual concrete syntax Variable:=Expr. We type sequents according to the syntactic nature of their subject; we define this type with a judgment as shown in the example by the line beginning with the keyword judgment. Within a set, a premise

sequent of a rule refers to the same set unless another set is explicitly indicated by a named sequent (as with the assignValue premise in the example).

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the provided clause getUserAction first to find out whether the user wants to stop the program interpretation. The do clause indicates an action that must be executed if the corresponding rule is proved. We use this clause especially to send notifications to the environment (for example, updateWindow).

Semantic structures

During execution, a Java program creates, uses, and updates objects and threads. Objects, threads, and configurations (a pair of objects and static variables) are modeled as semantic structures.

Figure 3 establishes the structure of objects and threads. In the case of a simple object (not a thread), the only difference between objects and threads is that the activity is nil. An activity consists of a status and a continuation. A continuation consists of

l a thread identifier,

l the name of the current method,

l an execution environment composed of parameters (name-value pairs) and local

variables (name-value pairs), and

l an instruction list (language statements as well as closures for method calls).

Figure 3. An abstract syntax for objects and threads.

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the corresponding abstract syntax tree.

Figure 4. An example thread activity.

Semantic modules

The semantic specification contains 600 inference rules describing Java's operational semantics. As Figure 5 shows, they have a modular organization, which enhances the design, improves readability, and facilitates debugging. The left part of the figure presents the main modules; the right part presents utility modules used by the main modules. Some modules are expressed in Natural Semantics

style—especially object-oriented features such as java_inheritance.ty. Others are expressed in Structural Operational Semantics

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Figure 5. Semantic modules.

The transition system

Figure 6 presents the Typol rules that specify our transition system. We specify transitions between configurations with rules that describe one step of a given thread's execution. These rules take the form

<ObjL0, ClVarL0 > ®<ObjL1, ClVarL1 > ®¼

which we interpret as A system in an initial configuration <ObjL0, ClVarL0> performs an execution step and changes its configuration into <ObjL1, ClVarL1>. Execution is therefore a sequence of

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Figure 6. The Typol rules that specify our transition system.

The first rule, initializationOfTheInterpreter, of the considered set interpretProgram initializes program execution; it creates the main thread (the thread related to the main method), which starts

executing and calls the second rule, RecursiveRule_InterpretOneStep. In this rule, the set getTheNewExecutingThread deterministically

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Program animation and graphical visualization

From semantic specifications, Centaur automatically generates a

simulator that takes as input a syntactically correct Java program and outputs a list of objects and threads denoting the program's behavior (or meaning). Jitan shows the object list using two visualization

engines, both based on the semantic structure modeling the object list. The textual view is a direct prettyprinting of the list of objects and threads. To generate the graphical view, which shows the object

graph's complete topology, we use Centaur's graph server. It builds the graph's nodes and edges by traversing the abstract syntax tree representing the object list. For each object, it creates a node

representing the object, and for each attribute or local variable value that is a reference, it creates an edge between the two involved

objects.

The Jitan user does not directly control the drawing of the graph. It is the graph server's responsibility to use a specific node placement heuristic and to determine the edges' form (curved or straight). But the user can interactively modify node and edge placement with the mouse.

The semantics interpreter reports semantic structure changes to the environment, which then sends the corresponding graphic structure to the graph server. The environment also sends the graph server

instructions to create edges and arrows between nodes. The graph server defines structures for each graph entity.

To provide graphical animation during program execution, the semantics interpreter notifies the two textual and graphical visualization engines of important events (state changes). A

notification is a call to highlighting primitives, with the concerned

entity (where a change occurs) passed as a parameter. The semantics is equipped with notifications. The successful execution (proof) of

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the visualization engines become aware of a modification in the

semantic structures. Notifications tell the engines to change a field's value or a thread's status or to add or remove a lock on a given object or an arc between two objects.

Altogether, we needed to equip less than 10 semantic rules with notifications. For the graphical engine, the rules triggering

notifications are

l object and thread creation,

l thread status change (runnable, executing, locked), l object status change (locked, unlocked), and

l variable, attribute, or continuation updates.

The notifications are not scattered throughout the specifications but concentrated in two modules: object list and concurrency

management (see Figure 5).

A critical aspect of visualization is incrementality. To achieve efficient, high-quality visualizations (avoiding flashing), Jitan computes and displays changes incrementally in both views. Without program

instrumentation by the user, execution can proceed step by step, stop and resume, or abort at any time. Thus, the user controls and paces the animation.

Visualization

Figure 7 shows the windows of the Jitan interpretation environment during execution of the producer-consumer program presented in Figure 1. In Figure 7a, a control panel provides debugging tools (step-by-step execution, interpretation speed, and so on). In Figure 7b, the programmer can study a detailed call stack of each thread (stack or continuation). Figure 7c presents the object list in textual form:

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locks. The final two windows provide summary views: object status (Figure 7e) and thread and object interactions (Figure 7f).

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Figure 7. (e) object status, and (f) thread and object interactions

Object list: Textual visualization

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find it easily at various stages. For example, checking the value of a given field or whether an object is currently locked is often a problem. So Jitan provides two windows (Figures 7b and 7c) that give a textual presentation of the current object list during program execution.

Programmers can track a problem if they know what has been

executed and by which thread. In sequential applications, following the execution with the program text might not be difficult, but it is nearly impossible when several threads are executing several methods at once. The window in Figure 7b lets programmers see each thread's status and current continuation. The continuation's instruction list is updated at each execution step, displaying only instructions yet to execute, not those that have already executed. Thus, the programmer can focus on the next instruction. And, more important for concurrent applications, the programmer has the status information for each

thread.

When programmers encounter problems during program execution, their first idea is to check objects that have already been created and their attribute values. The textual window in Figure 7c presents this information without any instrumentation:

l each object type—for example, CubbyHole for object #1;

l the field (attribute) list—two fields for object #1: contents, with the value 0, and

nbTimesToConsume;

l whether the object is locked, and, if it is, what object locks it—for example,

object #1 is locked one time by thread #T4;

l the object wait set (if it is not empty);

l the distinction between objects and threads—an object is labeled #i, and a

thread, #Ti.

Graphical presentation

Another problem in object-oriented programming is the object

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very useful. Jitan provides a graph-oriented object list representation that makes connection visualization obvious and immediate. Most systems offer only a tree-oriented representation that compels the programmer to compare field values to follow connections between objects.

Figure 7d illustrates the graphical visualization of an object list

obtained during the producer-consumer program interpretation. In the graph, elliptical nodes stand for objects or classes, and black arrows symbolize references between objects. Threads are distinguished by a rectangle around thread names. The visualization highlights

references (arrows) between objects and object types (labels). Different colors make thread status visible.

By clicking on an object, the programmer can use a zooming process to examine the object's references—that is, fields and local variable values. In this mode, variable names (field or local variable) appear in a rectangular node attached to the corresponding arrows. A smaller font and a dark blue frame distinguish local variables.

To debug a program or to understand its behavior, the programmer must notice directed acyclic graphs and reference cycles between objects. A DAG can represent a potential shared access on a given object and race conditions in the presence of threads. Jitan's graphical view makes it easy to detect such situations. If two threads reach the same object through several successive references, the two threads share the object, potentially leading to a problem of protecting the shared data. For example, one thread might call a method that

modifies this data during its reading by the other thread, leading to a coherence problem. In that case, synchronization is necessary to avoid concurrent data access problems. With the zooming feature of our graphical visualization, the programmer will see that several threads can access an object. This indicates the need for

synchronization to protect the object's fields.

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variables are attached to their class and therefore are common to all objects that are instances of this class, whereas instance variables (nonstatic fields) are attached to their instance object. The graphical view must represent static variables, but the chosen representation must let programmers easily differentiate static and instance

variables. Our solution is to display classes that have static

variables—as shown, for instance, on the left side of Figure 8. Objects referenced by such a class (or the static field values) are accessible to every object of this type.

Figure 8. Objects, classes, locks, and thread status.

To keep the topology simple, we do not show a link between an object and its static variables. But a programmer can easily locate such static references. Considering an object, the programmer knows its type by the object label. If the corresponding class is represented in the

graph, the object has static variables, which the programmer can visualize by zooming on the class. In Figure 8, for example,

ClassWithStaticVar has a reference on object #2 (an unlocked object). For readability, the graphical presentation gives no other information. The programmer can refer to the textual presentation for information such as thread activity.

Summary views

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interactions between them. Jitan's summary views of objects and threads facilitate the task of understanding complex concurrent behaviors, especially when the graphical presentation contains too many nodes.

The ability to see, for instance, that no thread can proceed with

execution, or that at least one thread is not dead or blocked, is useful in detecting deadlocks or livelocks. Moreover, a created threat that never becomes runnable may indicate a problem in the program. The window in Figure 7e presents objects and threads classified by status. We can see that thread #T4 is executing, #T3 is blocked, #T2 is

dormant, and #T0 is dead. This window also shows which objects are locked—in the considered example, object #1.

Errors in recursive method calls are common. Detecting a thread that successively calls methods on a single object or on a cycle of objects can be very helpful to the programmer. In Figure 7f, the window presents the thread stacks and the object activations. In the upper part of the window, the programmer can see which object each thread is currently working on and the chain of objects leading to that point. For example thread #T2 is executing a method on object #1.

Placing synchronizations is a crucial problem in concurrent

applications. To avoid nondeterminism, an access to a shared data item (an object field) must be enclosed in a critical section (a

synchronized block). It is therefore useful for the programmer to know of any concurrent accesses to objects. Our tool lists all the threads currently accessing each object in the system (including threads that are objects). From the lower half of Figure 7f, we know that object #1 is currently accessed by threads #T2, #T3, and #T4. Therefore,

synchronization might be required on all methods accessing this shared object.

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To understand, at a given execution step, why there is a deadlock or if a critical section is required, the programmer must know which

objects are locked and which threads are blocked. The textual information is a first answer to that question. However, this

information is not sufficient on its own, so Jitan graphically visualizes synchronization mechanisms and locks.

First, Jitan visualizes thread status by color coding (red for blocked, black for dead, purple for dormant, and so on). During execution, it also show locked objects (light blue for unlocked objects, dark blue for locked objects). The graphical presentation highlights synchronization information in an animated fashion. This feature requires the

introduction of the following arrows between objects:

l L (locked) arrow—exhibits a lock (obtained by the thread when it calls a

synchronized block or method on the considered object) between the origin thread and the destination (locked) object.

l B (blocked) arrow—links a thread and a lock on an object. Establishes that the

origin thread is blocked, waiting for a lock on an object already locked by another thread.

l D (dormant) arrow—links a dormant thread and a lock on an object. Indicates

that the dormant thread (which has called its wait method) will compete to hold this lock as soon as it is re-enabled (by the thread that owns the considered lock and will call the notify method on the object) for thread scheduling.

Figure 8 presents the color and graphical codes corresponding to object, class, lock, and thread status.

For lock visualization, a first possibility was to make the lock visible on the reference between the thread and the concerned object. But a thread that has no direct reference on an object can hold a lock on it indirectly through other objects. The objects on which a given thread can hold a lock are the transitive closure of accessible objects from that thread attribute (including transient), statics, and variables of its run method.

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shown topologically in Figure 10. Thread #T0 holds a lock on object #3, but this lock is obtained through three successive method calls (via objects #1, #2, and #3). This implies that the information cannot be attached to a reference but must have its own representation.

Figure 9. A

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Figure 10. An example of an indirectly locked object.

Synchronization animation

Figure 11 demonstrates how the animated graphical view shows

synchronization and status information during the producer-consumer program's execution. This program has four threads and one object. The main thread (#T0) creates the three other threads (two

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In Figure 11a, the three threads have started. Consumer #T2 and Producer #T3 are runnable and Consumer #T4 is executing. CubbyHole #1 is locked by Consumer #T2 (indicated by an L arrow and a dark blue color for CubbyHole #1).

Figure 11.

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In Figure 11c, Consumer #T2 has called its wait method to enable Producer #T3 (perhaps after several execution steps) to finally get the lock on CubbyHole #1 and to put a data item in it.

Consumer #T2 releases the lock (CubbyHole #1 and its lock are now in light blue) and becomes dormant (indicated by the purple color and the D arrow link to the CubbyHole lock).

In Figure 11d, Consumer #T4 resumes and gets the lock on CubbyHole #1. Producer #T3 is

therefore blocked, waiting for this lock. For the same reason as before, Consumer #T4 will

become dormant, and Producer #T3 will resume and hold the lock on CubbyHole #1. Later,

Producer #T3 will release the lock. Consumers #T2 and #T4 will resume and compete to get the lock on CubbyHole #1 and to read the data.

Example of deadlock detection

The previous section described the producer-consumer program's normal execution. To describe the deadlock detection mechanism, we transform the program as follows: Two producers put a data item in a cubbyhole. This data is read by two intermediate consumers

(InterConsumers), which transmit it to another cubbyhole. Lastly, two final consumers (Consumers) read it. We have transformed the

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Figure 12. Deadlock example in a producer-consumer pattern.

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prodCubbyhole have the same value, the CubbyHole #2 reference. The two concerned arrows are pointing to the same object.

Figure 13. Deadlock detection.

Figure 14. Zoom on deadlock cause.

The error is therefore related to these attribute values. We can see that the prodCubbyhole attribute has the good value—the CubbyHole #2 reference—because the intermediate consumers are producers for the second cubbyhole. But the consCubbyhole value must be the

reference of CubbyHole #1, because the intermediate consumers must obtain the data contained in this cubbyhole to transmit it to the

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two final consumers are waiting for a value from the second

cubbyhole. The two intermediate consumers are waiting for the same thing (instead of waiting for a value from the first cubbyhole). The two producers are waiting for the reading of the value placed in the first cubbyhole.

Now that we understand the deadlock cause, we must correct the program—that is, find where the intermediate consumers are created and initialized. They are created by the main thread, in its main

method—the statement ... = new InterConsumer (ch2, ch2). The error is that we transmit the same cubbyhole reference twice. The correct statement is ... = new InterConsumer (ch1, ch2). Figure 15 presents the object topology after correction.

Figure 15. Topology of corrected version.

Abstract views of the object graph

Jitan users can abstract an object graph that represents a Java

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provides a clearer view of a selected part of the constructed graph. An abstraction can focus on an object subgraph—for example, by graying out the other parts of the global graph without changing shapes. An abstract view also can visualize only this subgraph and what happens to it during program execution.

An abstraction of the global object graph can visualize only threads and objects that are directly or indirectly referenced by a given thread (indicated by the user). During program debugging, we may find it interesting to precisely analyze a new thread in the graph execution without seeing the other threads, which are known not to cause any problem. On the other hand, to precisely study interactions and

possible deadlocks between two threads on a shared object, we must see both thread subgraphs,.

Figures 16 and 17 give an example of an abstraction of a given program. The main thread #T0 (the thread related to the main method) creates two well-known patterns: a binary tree and a

producer-consumer system. Every BinTree object is built through an object factory method, which explains the references between the main thread and all the BinTree objects. The obtained object graph, visualized in Figure 16 without user instrumentation, is complex. In such a view, detecting patterns or independent subgraphs is difficult. But if we ask for an abstraction of thread #T2, we see a partial view of the object graph, as shown in Figure 17. In this view, we can

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Figure 16. Global view of an object graph.

Figure 17. View of the object graph abstracted to the thread #T1 subgraph.

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Our current platform demonstrates the feasibility of the approach we have described here. Other environments can also use these

principles. Graphical visualization can be useful even for

single-threaded systems. For instance, in the context of smart cards, only a few (less than 20) objects are involved, but security issues make program understanding crucial. Discovering an object shared by two different applications on a card would be a major security issue. Moreover, we can imagine designers using Jitan to automatically produce an object topology for use in reverse engineering. Teachers might use the environment for teaching concurrent and

object-oriented concepts.

In terms of performance and scalability, Jitan is operational and

already supports medium-size programs. It has handled applications with more than 100 objects, running on standard workstations. For the sake of animation, we must slow down the execution speed, so that the user can see and understand what is happening during

program execution. When needed, we can show only an abstract view of the object graph (a subgraph of a given thread). This feature lets us handle complex systems efficiently and increase scalability. (For further information, see http://www.inria.fr/oasis/jitan.)

O

ur further experiments will focus on two main goals. First, in

graphical abstraction, we are exploring techniques for displaying only threads (not objects) or only certain types of objects. These

techniques require specific rules and treatments because graph connectivity is not obvious and is therefore difficult to maintain. We also want to add a feature that would let the user control interleaving between all threads (for example, artificially blocking or slowing

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1. J. Gosling, B. Joy, and G. Steele, The Java Language Specification, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1996.

2. S. Oaks and H. Wong, Java Threads, O'Reilly, Sebastopol, Calif., 1997.

3. M. Campione and K. Walrath, The Java Tutorial (Object-Oriented Programming for the Internet), Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1998.

4. G. Kahn, "Natural Semantics," Proc. Symp. Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science, Vol. 247, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag, Amsterdam, 1987, pp. 22-39.

5. G.D. Plotkin, A Structural Approach to Operational Semantics, Report DAIMI FN-19, Computer Science Dept., Aarhus Univ., Aarhus, Denmark, 1981.

6. P. Borras et al., "Centaur: The System," Proc. ACM SIGSOFT/SIGPLAN Software Eng. Symp. Practical Software Development Environments, ACM Press, New York, 1988, pp. 14-24.

7. G. Kahn, B. Lang, and B. Mélèse, "Metal: A Formalism to Specify Formalisms," Science of Computer Programming, Vol. 3, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1983.

Isablle Attali is a senior researcher and the project leader of the Oasis team at INRIA

(Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique), Sophia Antipolis, France. Her main research interests are the semantics of object-oriented programming languages, concurrent object-oriented programming languages, and parallel functional languages. Attali holds a master's degree in computer science from the University of Bordeaux and a PhD in computer science from the University of Nice. Contact her at isabelle.attali@sophia.inria.fr.

Denis Caromel is a professor in the Computer Sciences Department at the University

of Nice, Sophia Antipolis, France. His main research interests are parallel concurrent and distributed object-oriented programming languages. Caromel received an MS and a PhD, both in computer science, from the University of Nancy, France. Contact him at denis.caromel@sophia.inria.fr.

Marjorie Russo is a PhD candidate at the University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis. Her main

research interests are the formal semantics of concurrent object-oriented programming languages and the proofs of their properties. Russo holds an engineer diploma from the Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs de Luminy and an MS from the University of Marseille, both in computer science. Contact her at marjorie.russo@sophia.inria.fr.

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