Interface Safety in Multilingual Software

Most real software systems are multilingual; that is, they consist of components developed in different programming languages. Multilingual software systems are convenient in practice. Developers can reuse existing code modules, and can also mix and match strengths of different languages. As an example, imagine that a developer intends to perform data compression in Java. Instead of writing all the code for data compression from scratch, he can reuse the existing ZLib C library and write a thin interface between Java and C, via the Java Native Interface (JNI). In fact, this is exactly how Sun’s JDK implements the classes under

Although multilingual software systems are convenient for developers and ubiquitous in practice, it is difficult to write safe and reliable multilingual software.  It usually requires programmers to carefully take into account the discrepancies between languages on issues such as language features, data layout, memory management, safety/security assumptions, and many others. As an example, Java has built-in support for exceptions and exception handling, while C does not. Therefore, when developers write software that consists of both Java and C code, the C code has to check for exceptions in every possible place where they may occur, and provides code to handle them. Failure to do so may result in silent memory corruption. As one can imagine, this is an extremely error-prone process.

To address the safety and reliability issues in multilingual software, this project aims to



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Last updated: Jul. 2011