[erlang-questions] A whole bunch of implementation details

Dennis Byrne <>
Thu Sep 4 04:37:40 CEST 2008

Gave a presentation today to a very bright crowd.  Lots of these people 
just wanted to ask questions rather than looks at slides.  Here's a 
handful of questions I got, for which I was anywhere from half way to 
completely clueless on. 

Does a process get pinned to one OS thread for it's entire existence? What 
factors go into the VM's decision to pin a process to one OS thread or 
another?  How do we prevent all the busiest processes from being tied to 
one OS level thread? 
How does stack memory grow?  Am told Prolog does this dynamically and I 
was wondering if Erlang did the same.  Does heap memory contract? 
Exactly what is the tipping point between what gets passed by value and 
what gets passed by reference?  The large binary trick is common 
knowledge, any other corner cases?
How does the VM differentiate between a node that is temporarily 
unresponsive and one that is down?  In other words, at what point does a 
node give up on a peer?
Dennis Byrne
ThoughtWorks - Chicago

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