Science Daily reported on 31 March 2011, that computer programs are incorporating more and more safety features to protect users but those features can also slow the programs down by 1000% or more. Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a software tool that helps these programs run much more efficiently without sacrificing their safety features.
"These safety features can slow a program down so much that software developers will often leave them out entirely, says Dr. James Tuck, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and leader of the research team that designed the new tool. "Leaving out those features can mean that you don't identify a problem as soon as you could, which can be important, particularly if it's a problem that puts your system at risk from attack."
These safety features have been incorporated directly into a software program's code, and are run through the same core, the CPU that serves as the brain of a computer chip--that the program itself uses. That is what slows the program down.
Researchers at NC State have developed a tool that takes advantage
of multi-core computer chips by running the safety features on a separate core in the same chip allowing the main program to run at close to normal operating speed.
The multi-core approach has been tried before, but previous efforts were unwieldy and involved replicating huge chunks of code--a process that was time-consuming and used a great deal of power. The new tool, Tuck says, "significantly streamlines the safety feature work being done by other cores."
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