[erlang-questions] Random newbie stuff

Ulf Wiger ulf@REDACTED
Sun Nov 4 16:51:14 CET 2007

2007/11/4, Dennis Byrne <dbyrne@REDACTED>:
> Hello Ulf,
> If you have a function that is 100% predictable, couldn't there be some
> serious performance gains given that the function is frequently passed the
> same message?  In other words, why put a core to work calculating the result
> you gave last time someone sent you a given message?  It would be better to
> use this function to spawn a process that could use the process dictionary
> as a cache (one that would never expire).
> Unless ... are gets and puts to the dictionary thread safe?

Hmm, these are two different questions.

The immutability part means that stuff like this is not possible in Erlang:

void foo( int &i )

int main()
    int bar = 5;   // bar == 5
    foo( bar );    // bar == 6
    foo( bar );    // bar == 7

    return 0;

(from http://developer.kde.org/~wheeler/cpp-pitfalls.html, one of many web
pages listing C++ pitfalls).

The fact that a function will return the same value every time it is called
with the same input, doesn't mean to imply that you have to call it every
time you have a certain set of values. (-:

It's not a matter of efficiency. It's rather a sanity thing. When you debug
functional code, it takes only moments to determine that a function depends
only on its input parameters. Once you've done that, you can figure out what
it does, and rest assured that this will always hold.

Ulf W
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