[erlang-questions] Erlang and Memory management

Kostis Sagonas <>
Tue May 31 20:19:14 CEST 2011


Robert Virding wrote:
> I just want to point out that these rules are BEAM specific and not Erlang specific.

Well, this is not correct: the BEAM nowhere specifies that its 
instruction set has to be implemented using a private heap architecture. 
  In fact, we successfully used the BEAM instruction set to implement 
both a shared heap and a hybrid heap implementation.  See:

   http://user.it.uu.se/~kostis/Papers/heap.pdf

> So on an implementation with a single heap all data is shared. Now there aren't currently many single heap implementations, to be exact only one, erjang (Erlang on the JVM). :-)

There have been more.  We had an OTP system with a shared heap and the 
hybrid heap system was part of OTP for quite a while.  IMO, it's too bad 
that it was not maintained when Erlang/OTP was extended to support SMP 
architectures.

Also, the ETOS (Erlang to Scheme) system was based on a shared heap 
architecture.

Kostis



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