Simulation with Erlang

Ciaran Johnston Ciaran.Johnston@REDACTED
Thu Dec 14 16:48:05 CET 2000

Vlad Dumitrescu wrote:
> Imagine a robotics application, where the robot is not an usual one, but
> composed out of many small identical blocks that can move on each other or
> be locked onto each other, and they can communicate with their neighbours.
> It's a kind of robotic amoeba :-) There are two kinds of software in the
> system: a local OS per block, and a (hopefully distributed) high-level
> control application.
> Because of the distributed nature, I think Erlang would be a perfect
> platform. Since the cost of actually building this monster is prohibitive,
> it would be a good way to start with a simulation. And why not use Erlang
> for it too?

Just a little comment, I've only been using Erlang for a few months but
before I even knew it existed I was involved in developing neural
network applications in C and Fortran. It was a pain to say the least,
and when I started using Erlang it occured to me that a lot of what I
had been doing could have been simplified by an order of magnitude using
this language. There are quite a few projects involving neural networks
in robotics (eg. New Scientist (5 Dec. 1998): March Of the Biobots (p26)
as the only reference I have to hand for an overview). A neural network
is, in it's simplest form, many simple nodes interacting to create a
complex system, which sounds to be very similar to what you are trying
to create. It has the added bonus of being trainable to react to
previously unhandled situations, which is pretty useful in the real


Ciaran Johnston        
Ericsson Systems Expertise Ltd.,
Co. Westmeath

email: Ciaran.Johnston@REDACTED
Phone: +353 902 31274

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