Why Erlang is the best concurrent language available

James Hague <>
Thu Jan 23 16:21:20 CET 2003


Joe Armstrong wrote:
>My philosophy is  "write as *beautiful* code as
>possible" - if it's too slow buy a faster machine.

When I first saw you write this a few years ago, I laughed and disagreed,
but now I'm a convert.  "Beautiful" doesn't mean "dumb," but it does mean
"clean and understandable," so there's a good chance that the beautiful code
may end up being speedy anyway, because it's so easy to fiddle with.  A
project falls apart when the code gets so tangled and confusing that you're
afraid to touch it, and, wow, is that an easy line to cross C or C++.

Aside #1: I am *stunned* at how quick the Erlang compiler is, especially
considering just how much stuff is going on under the hood, and how much the
code leans on higher order functions.  If someone tried to write the
compiler in C, I doubt they could improve its performance (and I also doubt
it would ever get finished!)

Aside #2: I do think all the effort put into speeding up the Erlang emulator
and runtime system has been well spent, though, as it makes my 333MHz P2 at
home seem speedy :)



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