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Memory corruption is a pernicious and expensive problem. Too often scrubbing it out of code requires manual review, which becomes increasingly impractical as the size of code increases. Runtime checks are inadequate because they cannot prove that memory corruption cannot happen since only the test cases are checked. The idea is to be able to detect memory corruption at compile time as much as possible.
D has had great success at greatly reducing many common forms of memory corruption, such as buffer overflows, use of uninitialized pointers, constructing invalid pointers, and dangling pointers into expired stack frames.
The largest remaining category of such problems is tracking the lifetimes of memory objects and the references to them. The idea is to pair every memory allocation with exactly one deallocation and prevent references to a memory object from surviving past the lifetime of that object. This presentation describes the design of a memory ownership and borrowing system suitable for inclusion into the D language, addressing that category.
Walter Bright is the creator and first implementer of the D programming language and has implemented compilers for several other languages. He’s an expert in all areas of compiler technology, including front ends, optimizers, code generation, interpreter engines and runtime libraries. Walter regularly writes articles about compilers and programming, is known for engaging and informative presentations, and provides training in compiler development techniques. Many are surprised to discover that Walter is also the creator of the wargame Empire, which is still popular today over 30 years after its debut.