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Debugging framework for multi-process applications unveiled

TotalView Technologies, formerly Etnus, has announced the TotalView Multi-Core Debugging Framework, a set of debugging tools for multi-threaded, multi-process applications.

Etnus LLC is kicking off the month with a new name and a new debugging framework for multi-threaded, multi-process applications.

Hoping to capitalize on the success of its flagship product, TotalView, Etnus will now be called TotalView Technologies. Rich Collier, president and CEO of Natick, Mass.-based TotalView, said the new name better reflects the company's product strategy, which has been expanded to give a more complete view of what an application is actually doing.

The company's product strategy now includes the TotalView Multi-Core Debugging Framework. The framework defines the five core debugging technologies required for the next generation of multi-threaded, multi-process programs -- source code, memory, performance, data-centric and active Web, according to Collier. It also includes a set of products to meet those requirements:

TotalView Debugger
TotalView Debugger provides source code, memory and data debugging for multicore and clustered environments. Available for Linux, UNIX and Mac OS X, it lets you debug concurrent applications with multiple threads and/or processes. And it supports open source and commercial C, C++ and Fortran compilers.

MemoryScape is a focused, interactive memory debugger that helps users understand the way their programs use memory and subsequently identify and resolve problems affecting it, such as memory leaks, heap allocation and overwrites. It features an intuitive user interface that allows developers to monitor memory usage as their applications are running. The program's wizards guide developers of all expertise levels through the memory debugging process.

Collier pointed out that software testers could also use MemoryScape. For example, a tester could run the program, export an HTML snapshot of the results and send the snapshot to a developer to fix. "We provide a level of service for everyone from testers to developers," Collier said.

Performance Program
This tool suite, which is new for the company, targets high-performance computing (HPC) scientists, engineers and developers. It helps them measure, understand and improve the performance and efficiency of serial and parallel applications across a wide range of platforms during the development cycle. It's expected to be available in the second half of 2007.

Data-Centric Program
This tool suite, also new for the company, addresses the need of programmers to find errors when multi-process, multi-thread programs give the wrong data. It allows developers to trace data through program execution as it is acted upon and quickly hone in on data problems areas by allowing them to analyze data from multiple threads as the program executes. The suite is also expected in the second half of 2007.

Active Web Program
With the use of Java, Ajax and other Web 2.0 technologies powering a variety of applications, TotalView Technologies is leveraging its experience with parallel and distributed computing to provide a simple debugging interface that enables users to work easily with a complex array of interrelated processes running on many machines that operate together. This new interface is expected in the second half of 2007.

TotalView has more than 1,000 customers in 55 countries, but it hopes this product expansion will attract companies that currently use open source debuggers such as the GDB GNU Project debugger that ships with every Linux distribution.

The company also hopes to attract developers who don't care for debuggers and use just the printf function to learn what's happening with their code. Because printf works with TotalView, those developers can have the functionality of both tools.

"The world is moving to multi-core chip sets, which change how you do development," Collier said. "We will help developers solve their bugs and help them work in that environment."

Addison Snell, vice president and general manager of Tabor Research in San Diegeo, said the industry shift to multi-core processors creates yet another layer of complexity in the HPC programming environment. But TotalView is well-positioned to address that with its new tools.

"The challenge of designing and tuning applications for scalable, multi-core environments is ubiquitous in HPC," Snell said. "And the widening gap between productivity and performance establishes a market need for products that can simplify application creation and optimization. These market forces work in favor of companies like TotalView, whose products are targeted at bridging the gap between performance and productivity."

For more information on the TotalView Multi-Core Debugging Framework, visit the company's Web site.

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