[erlang-questions] Millions of processes?

Steve Vinoski <>
Tue Sep 23 19:12:36 CEST 2008


On 9/23/08, Zvi <> wrote:
>
>  I'm no Linux expert, but
>
>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_POSIX_Thread_Library
>
>  "The Native POSIX Thread Library (NPTL) is a software feature that enables
>  the Linux kernel to run programs written to use POSIX Threads fairly
>  efficiently.
>  In tests, NPTL succeeded in starting 100,000 threads on a IA-32 in two
>  seconds. In comparison, this test under a kernel without NPTL would have
>  taken around 15 minutes."

This test was done 6-7 years ago. As a result of this work, have you
seen any Linux apps that make use of huge numbers of pthreads, thereby
noticeably advancing the state of the art for whatever application
domain they address? I haven't. Also, I wonder what the default thread
stack size was set to for this test? I'm guessing it was set to be
artificially small -- too small to do any real work, in fact -- just
to get to the 100000 mark. I have to side with Bob's comment on this
one.

--steve


>  Bob Ippolito wrote:
>  >
>  > We've got a couple applications that use thousands of processes per
>  > node. If those were pthreads, we'd be out of RAM before actually doing
>  > anything.
>  >
>  > 2008/9/23 Bard Bloom <>:
>  >> I've seen in Erlang promotional materials some rather impressive claims
>  >> about how cheap Erlang processes are, and how many of them one can spawn.
>  >> Which is pretty cool. But, what Erlang programs take advantage of that
>  >> kind
>  >> of power? Are there any examples of programs which use huge numbers of
>  >> processes in interesting ways? (I am the local Erlang fancier. I got
>  >> challenged on that point, and didn't have a very good answer.)
>  >>
>  >> Thanks very much,
>  >> Bard Bloom
>  >>
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