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Has anyone ever used Erlang? June 13, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
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I stumbled on this while looking for some other language I used to use. It is a functional language with a patter interference engine built in. Apparently originally written for the telecom industry. The thing that got my eyebrows up is it has multi-process programming built in, and since it is a functional language, apparently, it is easier to use multi-CPU’s from the get go (I think it has to do with the lack of global variables, but I’ve not really tried to figure it out). It also has distributed capabilities (you can start programs on remote machines and call them directly). Unfortunately, it looks like its parallel programming model is process based, not thread based.

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1. Christian S - June 13, 2007

The process-based parallel-programming model is what makes Erlang great. By avoiding shared state (threading) you make it a lot easier to reason about programs, thus minimizing mistakes in huge complex concurrent systems. I do not believe you think this is unfortunate. Remember that an Erlang process is not an OS process. They are completely user-space and the process overhead is just a few hundred words, so you can easily create a few hundred thousand Erlang processes.

Information exchange between processes are made through messaging. Messaging is completely transparent to the sender, it does not need to know if the process resides locally or on a remote node in the same cluster.

Apart from the telecom industry, Erlang is widely used for internet servers: Yaws the web-server, ejabberd the IM-server, to name the famous open source ones. See http://jungerl.sourceforge.net/ for a few more projects.


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