Floorplan: Spatial Layout in Memory Management Systems
Distinguished Paper Award
In modern runtime systems, memory layout calculations are hand-coded in low-level systems languages. The primitives in these languages are not powerful enough to describe a rich set of layouts, leading developers to rely on ad-hoc macros as well as numerous interrelated static constants and other boilerplate code. A memory management policy must also carefully orchestrate all the different address calculations to modify memory cooperatively, a task ill-suited to the low-level systems languages at hand which do not provide the proper safety mechanisms.
In this paper we introduce Floorplan, a declarative language for specifying memory layouts at a high level. Constraints formerly implemented by describing how to compute locations are, in Floorplan, defined declaratively using explicit layout constructs. The challenge here was to discover layout constructs capable of sufficiently and soundly enabling the automatic generation of address calculations, including code deemed unsafe according to the memory safety paradigm of Rust. Floorplan is implemented as a compiler for generating a Rust library from a Floorplan specification. In a case study of an existing implementation of the immix garbage collection algorithm, Floorplan eliminates 55 out of the 63 unsafe lines of code: 100% of the unsafe lines of code pertaining to memory safety.
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