[erlang-questions] Massive Numbers of Actors vs. Massive Numbers of Objects vs. ????

Miles Fidelman <>
Tue Feb 28 18:03:37 CET 2012


Folks,

I'm trying to get a handle on core technology for an application that's 
going to involve massive numbers of entities - where the entities want 
to have characteristics that draw from both the object and actor models.

Think of something like massive numbers of stored email messages, where 
each message is addressable, can respond to events, and in some cases 
can initiate events - for example, on receiving an email message, a 
reader can fill in a form, and have that update every copy of the 
message spread across dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of 
mailboxes/folders distributed across the Internet. Or where an email 
message, stored in some folder, can wake up and send a reminder.

One sort of wants to blend characteristics of:
- messages (small, static, easy to store huge numbers, easy to move around)
- objects (data and methods bound together, inheritance, ...)
- actors (massive concurrency, active)

The topic has come up before, in discussions of active objects, reactive 
objects, concurrent objects, etc. - I'm wondering what the current state 
of the art and practice look like.

I'm thinking that Erlang might be nice operating environment for such a 
beast, but wonder at what point one hits limits in the numbers of actors 
floating around.  I'm also wondering what other environments might blend 
these characteristics.

Thoughts? Comments?

Thanks,

Miles Fidelman

-- 
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra





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