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PL Perspectives

Perspectives on computing and technology from and for those with an interest in programming languages.
Undefined Behavior deserves a better reputation

Undefined Behavior deserves a better reputation

“Undefined Behavior” often has a bad reputation. But what, really, is Undefined Behavior, and is it actually that bad?
In this blog post, I will look at this topic from a PL perspective, and argue that Undefined Behavior is a valuable tool in a language designer’s toolbox.

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High Performance Correctly Rounded Math Libraries for 32-bit Floating Point Representations

High Performance Correctly Rounded Math Libraries for 32-bit Floating Point Representations

Everyone uses math libraries. Surprisingly, mainstream math libraries do not produce correct results for several thousands of inputs. Developers are seldom aware of them, which affects reproducibility and portability. We describe our new method for synthesizing elementary functions that produces correct results for all inputs but is also significantly faster than the state of the art libraries, which have been optimized for decades.

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Making Software Sandboxing Practical using Language-based Techniques

Making Software Sandboxing Practical using Language-based Techniques

Software sandboxing or software-based fault isolation (SFI) is a lightweight approach to building secure systems out of untrusted components. The idea of SFI is old. Its use in production, to sandbox third-party libraries in Firefox, is new. We describe the PL techniques—notably static information flow control—that were key to deploying SFI in practice and their use in tackling software security more generally.

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