[erlang-questions] Glossary

Richard Andrews <>
Mon Jul 20 10:15:37 CEST 2009


On Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 5:52 PM, Dave Pawson<> wrote:
> New to Erlang. Just reading the new O'Reilly book (very good btw).
> I'm a little unsure on terminology.

I'll have a go...


> Node

It's an operating system process. A virtual machine which contains
processes. Large systems off consist of several nodes distributed
across many hosts for redundancy, load balancing or some other reason.
Processes can send messages between themselves across nodes and across
hosts (network transparent message passing).

> Process

A light-weight state machine with a mailbox for receiving messages
from other processes or system IO resources. In java you might know
them as green threads. The node schedules processes to run when there
is something for them to do (like a message in the mailbox).

> Resource

Memory, socket, etc.
Internally might also refer to some erlang specific bits and pieces
like atoms and binaries (which you'll get to).

> Task

Ambiguous. Need context. This isn't an erlang-specific term I know.

> Event

Usually this means a message that was delivered to a process mailbox.


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