[erlang-questions] Newbie - Erlang VS other functional languages

Jesper Louis Andersen jesper.louis.andersen@REDACTED
Fri Jan 16 13:29:39 CET 2015

I think your observation is correct.

An Erlang program works by having many small processes, all isolated from
each other. The way to communicate between processes is to send a message,
asynchronously. This in turn leads to the key observation: when you send
messages, you don't care about *where* the other process is. It could be
local or on a completely different machine. The syntax and the semantics
are the same, and you would program the system much in the same way. The
environment is thus very homogeneous, compared to other solutions where you
need to communicate on two levels: one for local messaging and one for
distributed messaging.

I also second Bob's observation: The design feature of being functional
forces a lot of properties which are beneficial to programs where
correctness matters more than squeezing out the last ounces of performance
from a tight computational kernel. But there is more to it than that. A
good example is the choice of standard data structures which have no
pathological problems in corner cases. Or the deep continued focus on
scaling to multiple cores rather than looking for efficient single-core

On Thu Jan 15 2015 at 11:38:52 PM Bob Ippolito <bob@REDACTED> wrote:

> I'd agree with that observation. Erlang is particularly well designed for
> reliability and ease of maintenance/debugging. I wouldn't necessarily say
> that these properties are due to the language, it's really the environments
> that Erlang has been deployed in that shaped the VM and libraries in this
> way. The tooling and libraries have at least a decade head start for this
> kind of industrial usage over just about any other functional language.
> On Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 9:01 AM, Ken Wayne <kwayne@REDACTED> wrote:
>> I've been investigating functional languages and the concepts that lead
>> to increased speed, reliability, and decreased maintenance.  Erlang seems
>> to have a distinct advantage over other functional languages when you need
>> to scale across multiple servers because it's a natural part of the
>> language.  Can anyone confirm/deny or elaborate on the observation?
>> Without wax,
>> Ken Wayne
>> kwayne@REDACTED
>> Desk: 715.261.9412
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