[erlang-questions] Teaching Erlang as part of a paper -- advice sought

Kostis Sagonas <>
Mon Feb 8 01:03:28 CET 2010


Richard O'Keefe wrote:
> ...
> Here there is a dispute between me and one of the other lecturers
> in the department, who will not be involved in this paper, at least
> not this year.  I want the students to start learning about
> concurrent programming in a language in which data races (at least
> data races not involving external resources) are simply impossible.

It is true that Erlang offers a lot of advantages w.r.t. concurrency and 
is a very attractive choice for teaching about concurrent programming to 
students.  However, because of the existence of BIFs and internal data 
structures shared by all processes, it is NOT "a language in which data 
races are simply impossible".

A recent paper on how dialyzer was extended to detect data races in 
Erlang (cf. the new dialyzer option -Wrace_conditions) elaborates more 
on some of the kinds of data races possible in Erlang.

The paper is accessible at:

  http://www.it.uu.se/research/group/hipe/dialyzer/publications/races.pdf

Kostis


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