[erlang-questions] FPGA coming around the corner

Joe Williams <>
Fri Jan 7 17:04:30 CET 2011


On Jan 7, 2011, at 3:58 AM, Attila Rajmund Nohl wrote:

> 2011/1/7, Edmond Begumisa <>:
>>> 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).
> 
> Erlang is not a "silver bullet for multicore". The root cause of many
> scalability problems is shared data (e.g. which users are logged in to
> the system). You have to protect the shared data (using e.g. mnesia
> transactions or the state of a single gen_server) in Erlang too. If
> the algorithm doesn't scale, it doesn't matter what language is used.
> In Erlang it is harder to accidentally share data, but probably this
> is the only strong point of the language in this regard.

Agreed, Erlang nor any other language will ever be a silver bullet for problems that can't be paralellized. Thanks to Amdahl's Law (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Amdahl's_law). What it really comes down to is that in HPC they have been doing shared memory calculations in highly coupled systems for years in Fortran, C and friends and changing not only the code but the mindset is a huge barrier. I'm sure in many cases shared memory is the only way to do what they want without a prohibitive amount of pain. Not to mention industry has built up around this, SGI, IBM and etc make lots of money building ever larger systems to do this work on. So at the end of the day I think it's lot more than "just use Erlang".

-Joe

Name: Joseph A. Williams
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Blog: http://www.joeandmotorboat.com/
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