Simulation with Erlang

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Tue Dec 12 23:05:29 CET 2000


Hi all!

It feels like it should be Friday, but the week is till young *sigh*

As some of you might remember, I am considering to use Erlang in a robotics 
application. Since the hardware is way too expensive (unless I find a 
good-hearted sponsor!) I thought I'd try to simulate it with a program. So 
far so good.

The problem I stumbled upon is how to handle simulation time. My thought was 
to have processes run free, and a supervisor one (the "world") to check on 
them and collisions and such. But that is a completely different paradigm 
than the one I used before (the "objects" are run in the "world" thread, 
under it's control) and I can't make it work.

More precisely, the Erlang multitasking strategy gives no control over when 
to yield execution. An Erlang "timeslice" might include very different 
lengths of "simulation time".

A solution I came up with is to have the world doing the synchronization by 
sending "tick" messages to each object. But that gives a lot of traffic! And 
it's not elegant at all.

Can anyone give me some hints of whether it is possible to synchronize 
everything in a clean way, and if yes, how? Or at least some pointers for 
where to look further.

thanks in advance,
Vlad
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