[erlang-questions] FPGA coming around the corner

Edmond Begumisa <>
Fri Jan 7 05:40:39 CET 2011


> If the time is to come, then surely this is the *right time* for the  
> Erlang/OTP 'product' to step up and meet the challenges and mindset that  
> bind us daily owing to the chosen OO style forced onto us by C++/Java.

On a related note: I'm curious -- why is it that many seem unaware of  
Erlang's advantages with multi-core? Even vocal MP experts that are  
advocating for the change in mindset you describe and the need for  
programmers to be aware of the disconnect and quickly adapt -- these  
advocates don't sound like they're aware of Erlang (at least they don't  
mention Erlang in their talks).

A blog post recently alerted me to a talk Maurice Herlihy gave back in  
2007 entitled "Taking Concurrency Seriously: New Directions in  
Multiprocessor Synchronization."

http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/Abstracts/070502.html
http://ee380.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/videologger.php?target=070509-ee380-300.asx

To quote him "... Computer architecture is about to undergo, if not  
another revolution, then a vigorous shaking-up. The major chip  
manufacturers have, for the time being, simply given up trying to make  
processors run faster... As a result, system designers and software  
engineers can no longer rely on increasing clock speed to hide software  
bloat. Instead, they must somehow learn to make effective use of  
increasing parallelism. This adaptation will not be easy. Conventional  
synchronization techniques based on locks and conditions are unlikely to  
be effective in such a demanding environment..."

He then goes on the show some pretty fancy Java code illustrating  
concurrent data structures and a concept he calls "transactional boosting"  
in an attempt to deal with the disconnect without burdening the programmer  
"too much."

There are a number of more recent talks on that Standford page with the  
same tone...

http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/previous.html

They all sound panic-stricken and suggest there is currently no complete  
viable solution out-there yet to programming for the multi-core age that  
don't burden the programmer. These are some very smart people. But when I  
saw these videos recently I thought "Have they not heard of Erlang? If not  
why not?"

- Edmond -


On Fri, 07 Jan 2011 13:41:14 +1100, Steve Davis  
<> wrote:

>
> A very interesting article... and all the more interesting because it  
> lines up with Joe's predictions.
>
> http://www.kurzweilai.net/scientists-squeeze-more-than-1000-cores-onto-computer-chip
>
>  > “FPGAs are not used within standard computers because they are fairly
>  > difficult to program, but their processing power is huge while their
>  > energy consumption is very small because they are so much quicker, so
>  > they are also a greener option,” said researcher Dr. Wim
>  > Vanderbauwhede.
>
>  > While most computers sold today now contain more than one processing
>  > core, which allows them to carry out different processes
>  > simultaneously, traditional multi-core processors must share access
>  > to one memory source, which slows the system down. The scientists in
>  > this research were able to make the processor faster by giving each
>  > core a certain amount of dedicated memory.
>
> If the time is to come, then surely this is the *right time* for the  
> Erlang/OTP 'product' to step up and meet the challenges and mindset that  
> bind us daily owing to the chosen OO style forced onto us by C++/Java.
>
> /s
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