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Seminar:  Confessions of a Browser Developer

Date:September 21, 2010 
Talk Title:Confessions of a Browser Developer
Speaker:Robert O'Callahan
Time & Location:12:30pm - 1:30pm
CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Web browser development is extremely challenging: maintaining compatibility with billions of legacy Web pages, specifying and implementing new Web-standard platform features, supporting a wide range of devices and platforms for hundreds of millions of users, and enduring severe security and performance challenges, all in an environment of white-hot competition. Yet getting Web browsers right is essential for security on the Web. In this talk I will analyze Firefox development, talking both about successes (e.g. fuzz testing) and ongoing problems (e.g. nondeterministic test failures). We are incorporating exciting new technologies into our development, such as static array bounds checking and record-and-replay debugging, but we still have a lot of challenges --- especially as the capabilities of attackers increase. So I'll present my research wish-list --- including verification of refactorings, automated regression test generation, and static analysis packaged as assistance for code reviewers.



Robert O'Callahan got a PhD in static analysis from CMU in 2001, worked at IBM Research for a few years on dynamic analysis, then moved back home to his island fortress and turned his Mozilla hobby into full-time work, first for Novell and then for Mozilla itself running the Auckland office. He now splits his time between managing developers and working on layout and rendering in the Gecko engine (he prefers coding).