[erlang-questions] write the ant simulation in Erlang?

Rick R rick.richardson@REDACTED
Fri Oct 10 22:38:46 CEST 2008

2008/10/10 Daniel Goertzen <daniel.goertzen@REDACTED>

> How about 1 process for each cell, but no processes for the ants.  The ants
> exist as state inside each cell and as messages interrogating neighboring
> cells.  I think you'll get nice fine-grained localized transactions this
> way.
> Dan.
Using that method, I think you'll still have the same issue with
transactions. For instance: if two cells decide to move their ant to the
same adjacent cell, you will have the same conflict and one ant will have to
be rolled back.
It may not even be more efficient message-wise because instead of the ant
sending a message to an adjacent cell, the cell simply sends the same
message to the adjacent cell on behalf of the ant.

Of course we could go existentialist and say that there is no board except
what the ants perceive, and since they can only see one square in any
direction, that would imply that there is 1 process for each ant and no
process for a board (or any data for that matter).  This would mean that if
there are no ants on a section of board it would cease to exist. The only
way to reconstitute it would be to mathematically prove that it exists. e.g.
The ant was at 5,5 and moved 3 east,  8 < 64, therefore, the board exists.

One could extend this method with a Paxos algorithm so that the ants could
achieve consensus as to the existence of Board.
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