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Date: 2008-07-11 (15:30)
From: Bill <william.wood3@c...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] thousands of CPU cores
On Fri, 2008-07-11 at 16:06 +0200, Xavier Leroy wrote:
   . . .
> The interesting question that this community should focus on
> (rather than throwing fits about concurrent GC and the like) is coming
> up with good programming models for parallelism.  I'm quite fond of
> message passing myself, but agree that more constrained data-parallel
> models have value as well.  As Gerd Stolpmann mentioned, various forms
> of message passing can be exploited from OCaml today, but there is
> certainly room for improvement there.

Perhaps this is subsumed by some of the terminology flying around this
discussion, but what about (synchronous) dataflow?  I had some pretty
good-looking preliminary results implementing telecom algorithms in
dataflow networks.  One nice side-effect was that latency and throughput
could be tied to the "aspect ratio" (length vs. breadth) of the dataflow
network.  This could be an opening for the design-space trade-off design
style that hardware designers are used to but that is rare in software.

The resulting designs look upside-down to software designers -- instead
of a few big processes doing complicated work and
communicating/coordinating with each other there is a large number of
small functions each doing its thing to the next item on its input queue
and passing it on.

 -- Bill Wood