[erlang-questions] Idle question

Richard O'Keefe <>
Tue Nov 24 03:48:31 CET 2009


On Nov 24, 2009, at 11:13 AM, Vik Olliver wrote:

> On 24/11/09 Richard O'Keefe wrote:
>> Suppose Erlang were available on BlueFern
>> (the BlueGene machine at the University of Canterbury,
>> see http://www.bluefern.canterbury.ac.nz/
>> ).  What would you use it for?  What science or
>> technology would it advance?
>
> Protein & DNA packing - I guess that's what is was for, right? But I'd
> aim for creating nanomachine components rather than purely biological
> structures.

The page http://www.bluefern.canterbury.ac.nz/projects/index.shtml
shows what BlueFern is currently being used for.  I note two
nanotechnology projects there already.  (But no protein or DNA
packing.)

What would make >>> Erlang <<< a good language for Protein and DNA
packing or computational nanotechnology or birthweight prediction
&c rather than Fortran or C++ with ESSL and MPI or Stata or even R?

It struck me that here's a large machine on the same island as me,
160 cores for the p575 cluster, 4096 cores for the BlueGene, and
to be perfectly frank, most of the projects look like things where
Fortran 95 would be the programming language of choice, or possibly
Ada.  There's one project where the main need wasn't so much the
number of cores as the amount of main memory.

One should not expect Erlang to do _everything_, but this was making
me reflect on the difference between highly *concurrent* computing
and high *performance* computing.


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