His research bridges the areas of “systems” and programming languages, in that he frequently applies or develops language-based technology to solve problems that occur in systems software. This dissertation won the 2002 ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation Award.
The challenge for making DSU practical is that DSU should be flexible, and yet safe, efficient, and easy to use.
In this paper, we present Ginseng, a DSU implementation which can compile C programs specially to support dynamic updates.
The majority of updates were easy to generate, though more effort was required for signficant functional changes.
Compiling for updateability had virtually no impact on server performance, but would be more significant for compute-bound programs. Hicks is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Maryland, College Park. dissertation, he designed and implemented a general, language-based approach for dynamically upgrading running software.
While on-line updates have long been possible for specially-designed services employing redundant hardware, there is increasing interest in supporting on-line software upgrades generally, e.g., for mobile devices and general-purpose operating systems.