[erlang-questions] Erlang meets physics

pietje pieter.rijken@REDACTED
Thu Mar 15 19:56:44 CET 2012

> Hi All,
Just my 2 cents.
I am an ex physicist too. Used to do research on QCD (Drell-Yan process) 
calculating Feynman diagrams.

For a couple of years I've been busy writing an erlang program to handle 
Feynman diagrams algebraically. Lots of fun. 

regards, Pieter Rijken

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On Monday, 12 March 2012 02:34:04 UTC+1, Jared Kofron wrote:
> Hi All,
> I've been using Erlang at work for a few years now, and I thought I'd 
> throw my experience out there, as 
> my application is a little different than what you usually see on the list 
> - I am a graduate student at the
> Center for Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics at the University of 
> Washington, and use Erlang extensively
> in my work.
> In my experience, something that Erlang is really great at but doesn't 
> receive much attention for these days
> is managing and interacting with hardware.  In any physics experiment of 
> even modest sizes, you wind up
> having to keep track of the state of various pieces of equipment, often 
> modify that state, and constantly 
> interrogate particular values.  For example, we might want to change the 
> current in a magnetic trap, turn
> that trap off altogether, or simply read back the voltage drop across our 
> superconducting magnet.
> So far, I have deployed Erlang in this zone for two separate experiments 
> (SNO+, a large particle physics
> experiment in Canada) and Project 8 (a small nuclear physics experiment 
> here in Seattle).  Both times have
> been great successes, and I have found the reception of Erlang in this 
> market to be great.  In general, what
> I have done is wrap a hardware management layer with some kind of outside 
> world interface. For SNO+, we
> used Webmachine and RESTful control, and for Project 8 we actually conduct 
> all communication 
> by using CouchDB as a message passing interface.
> Physicists are suspicious creatures, but once you demonstrate the feature 
> set that you get for practically
> free with OTP, they see the advantage pretty quickly.  On top of that, the 
> development cycle for sophisticated 
> applications can be greatly reduced - more than once it made my group 
> float to the top in terms of meeting
> goals.
> In short, as far as I am concerned, Erlang has found a new niche in the 
> world of Physics, and I intend to 
> spread the word as much as I can!
> Jared Kofron
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