Ryan Wilson
Master's Thesis

Enhanced Debugging Through Virtualization

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson successfully defended, in December, his Thesis Research, titled "Enhanced Debugging Capabilitites through the Application of Virtualization Technology". Ryan has been working on Operating System extensions and device drivers in his day job while pursuing a Master of Science in Computer Engineering part-time. This research began with an independent study he undertook in 2010 in which he built some of the tools used in this research.

Ryan's focus was using hooks that the latest intel chip architectures and virtualization software provide to examine operating system kernel code and application code with control than conventional debuggers provide. For example, he used some of the Exit Conditions provided by the virtualization layer, usually used to return control from a guest OS to the virtualization hypervisor, to pause debugging on conditions not supported by other debuggers.

Ryan's committee commented on their interest in Ryan's research and the usefullness of his results.

You will find a nice summary of this work in his defense slides and all the details in his thesis document, below:

Presentation Scenes

In the first photo below, Ryan is introducing the main ideas in his researh. Then, you see him explaining one of several interesting experiments he conducted to provide proofs-of-concept for "Enhanced Debugging through Virtualization Technology.

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Ryan's Website