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

Eric Newhuis <>
Mon Feb 8 05:25:48 CET 2010


Mnesia is very good to mention.  I'll bet there may also be some interest among students for map/reduce style databases.

What might be fun for students is to actually build one--a distributed map/reduce.  That'd teach some aspect of the database concept, the Erlang grammar, and get them thinking in distributed terms all in one fell swoop maybe.

On Feb 7, 2010, at 7:58 PM, Richard O'Keefe wrote:

> 
> On Feb 8, 2010, at 1:03 PM, Kostis Sagonas wrote:
>> 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".
> 
> Ah.  Yes, I see what you mean.  I never did like the registry, in fact
> I criticised it on these grounds, in what, 1997?  And I was extremely
> critical of a metastasis of similar registries in the ISO Prolog
> threading proposal.
> 
> I wasn't going to teach them about the registry, and I was proposing to
> mention ETS/DETS/Mnesia, if at all, together with external files,
> and treat the consequent races as a coherent group of "access to external
> data" problems.
> 
> So it would be more accurate to say that "the subset of Erlang I propose
> to teach can only have data races when accessing external resources, and
> this is a large enough subset to be practically useful and interesting."
> 
> Thanks for the reminder, though.  I really _must_ introduce the students
> to the Dialyzer, and I had forgotten to put that in the list of topics.
> 
> I presume it's ok to hand out copies of that article in the class?
> 
> 
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