RE [erlang-questions] Idle question

Olivier BOUDEVILLE olivier.boudeville@REDACTED
Tue Nov 24 11:08:05 CET 2009


We are currently making use of Erlang for some kind of distributed 
discrete time-stepped simulations, and we were actually considering the 
port of an Erlang VM on a Bluegene/P for 2010. 

We are less in need for floating-point number-crunching abilities than for 
a massive parallel execution that could take advantage of  the vast amount 
of total RAM that the Bluegene provides: for the large-scale simulations 
we aim, with the Bluegene we might get an edge over classical clusters (if 
still able to rely on a low-latency network).

I believe that Erlang is very relevant to develop (somewhat complex) 
distributed algorithms, involving message reordering and massive 
concurrency. This is true for time-stepped algorithms, and I guess still 
truer for event-driven conservative or optimistic simulations, where 
deadlock detection/avoidance and distributed rollback mechanisms would be 
surely easier to develop in Erlang than, say, C or C++. 

So there would be definitively an interest in such a port, and the outlook 
of any joint effort/shared needs could help me promote the porting effort 

On the technical side, the port of the Erlang VM to a Bluegene node could 
be less complex than expected at first glance: unless I am mistaken, the 
PowerPC architecture is supported by Erlang, a minimal GNU/Linux 
environment should be available on each node, and the lack of multithread 
support should not be a problem (thanks to green threads). The major issue 
would probably be the network, knowing that by default not TCP/IP stack is 
available on the Bluegene, as I understand. Options could be to switch to 
a Bluegene-native carrier, or to make use of MPI for 
internode-communications, or maybe to rely on any experimental TCP/IP 
support that may already exist.

Finally, according to Ruby was 
already ported successfully to the Bluegene; is there anything that Ruby 
can do and that Erlang cannot? 

Best regards,

Olivier Boudeville.
Olivier Boudeville

EDF R&D : 1, avenue du Général de Gaulle, 92140 Clamart, France
Département SINETICS, groupe ASICS (I2A), bureau B-226
Office : +33 1 47 65 59 58 / Mobile : +33 6 16 83 37 22 / Fax : +33 1 47 
65 27 13

Envoyé par : erlang-questions@REDACTED
23/11/2009 23:02


[erlang-questions] Idle question

Suppose Erlang were available on BlueFern
(the BlueGene machine at the University of Canterbury,
).  What would you use it for?  What science or
technology would it advance?

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