Visual Threads overview

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Visual Threads lets you analyze and debug multi-threaded applications. It can be used to

  • Automatically diagnose common problems such as deadlock, protection of shared data, and thread usage errors.

  • Monitor the thread-related performance of the application, helping you identify bottlenecks or locking granularity problems.

It is a unique debugging tool because it can be used to identify problem areas even if an application does not show any specific problem symptoms. Visual Threads provides the following:

  • Event Collection: Collects detailed information about the significant thread state changes that occur during the running of a multithreaded application.

  • Event Display: At any time, you can view the dynamic display of events as they occur, with options to filter for specific types of events.

  • Automatic Rule-based Analysis: Detects violation conditions by evaluating the events against a set of enabled rules. Several predefined rules look for data protection errors, deadlock conditions, and programming errors.

  • Rule Customization: Lets you use templates to define your own rules to specify criteria for violation conditions. In particular, you can specify rules to monitor or identify performance problems.

  • Customized Actions: Suspends execution of the application when it detects violation conditions. You can choose from several options at this point, including invoking the debugger in the appropriate context for the application.

  • Playback: Records events to a trace file so you can play back and analyze them later. This is especially useful if you want to analyze a trace file iteratively, perhaps using different rules each time as you discover more information.

  • Statistics: Provides easy access to object-level statistics and current state information, including use of resources (for example, the mutexes held by a particular thread). You can use this information to look for performance problems and to fine tune the application.

  • Thread and Event Visualization: Graphically and continuously displays the state of the program threads and the frequency of thread related events.

Visual Threads can be used with any Tru64 UNIX application that uses POSIX threads (DECthreads) or is written in Java. It is designed for multi-threaded applications of all sizes — applications with anywhere from two threads to hundreds of threads.

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