[erlang-questions] Heap architecture of current Erlang

Kostis Sagonas <>
Thu Dec 28 16:20:46 CET 2006


Kirill Zaborski wrote:
> As I have read in the article the Erlang implementation using process 
> heap imposes some "guideline" to the application: e.g miminization of 
> message size. But in the case of hybrid architecture there is no such a 
> big penalty for big messages beacuse there is no message copying between 
> processes.
> So it looks like there are 2 different points of view - has anyone done 
> some research of the difference between them?

Not that I am aware of -- but then again, I do not see any "deep" issues 
that need research here.

> Of course it is quite application-specific but nonetheless?

One way of looking at it is as follows.

There exists a continuum in the amount of concurrency an application can 
have.  On the one side,  communication via message passing is not really 
needed for programming any application.  On the other side, every small 
task can be made a process which shares no state with the rest of the 
processes and all communication happens exclusively via message passing. 
  Where in this continuum a programmer chooses to position herself is a 
matter of taste, but the point in the 'hybrid' architecture is that it 
makes it possible to be closer to the latter side without worrying about 
the performance penalty that 'private' heap architecture imposes to 
interprocess communication.

Kostis



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