LtU Forum

Summary of techniques / approaches / models / languages for parallel computation


Can anyone point me to a survey paper for approaches to parallel computation?

Googling, I've found Models and Languages for Parallel Computation (Skillicorn and Talia) which is a pretty good example of what I'm looking for (from an initial skim through). However, that's from 1996 - I'm wondering if there's anything newer (or just complementary).


Looking for the source of a quote

I know I should be able to find it on Google, but I can't: Who was it who said something like, "Programming languages should be designed primarily for humans to read and only secondarily for machines to execute."?

Old computer science and technical books worth searching for

There have been several threads recently about buying old computer science books, so I thought I'd make it into its own topic. What obscure books are out there that are worth searching for?

One that I've found interesting is "Lucid: The Dataflow Programming Language." There's also a followp, "Multidimensional Programming" (which haven't seen).

Occam books are also eye-opening.

And I have a copy of "Programming in Parlog" (a parallel Prolog variant) which I have yet to read.

Explaining monads

I am off to bed, so I'll get back to this tomorrow per Luke's request.

For the time being I recommend section 2 of Wadler's Monads for functional programming.

Understanding continuations

In my neverending quest to grasp continuations (stupidly, apart from actually trying to use them in a supporting language), I found this "continuation sandwich" example interesting.

I wrote down my thoughts on what I still don't understand. If anyone would be willing to comment there or here and help me to correct my still-confused understanding of continuations I'd be very grateful.


SIGAPL is showing signs of life. After skipping a year while a new slate of officers reorganized, *Quote Quad* (the SIGAPL newsletter) Volume 34, Number 1 appeared in my mail box. The SIG has fallen on some hard times, but I think it's well positioned for a comeback. With cheap, fast hardware and service oriented architectures, the productivity advantages of *Array Programming Languages* are compelling for some applications.

Sun R&D efforts

Here's a flash cartoon outlining the future of Java after the settlement. Warning: Geek humor alert. :-)

Bossa, a framework for scheduler development

(via slashdot and OSNews)

Bossa is a framework for scheduler development, including "a domain-specific language (DSL) that provides high-level scheduling abstractions that simplify the implementation and evolution of new scheduling policies". The DSL compiles via C to kernel code.

Interestingly, the DSL includes constraints such as "the absence of pointers, and the impossibility of defining infinite loops". A good example of a language that forsakes general-purpose features in order to provide verifiable safety guarantees.

The quickest way to get a flavour is probably to read the release notes.

Slashdot: "Favourite Programming Language Features?"

There's a discussion about favoured programming language features on Slashdot.

Unification, parametric polymorphism etc. are mentioned.

Universal Business Language XML

From the OASIS group, responsible for OpenOffice formats among other things, comes a new schema for business processes. The gem here is the new standard for addresses, something long overdue in the XML world.

Ever since my early data modelling experience, with a pre-release version of IMS/DB, deciding how best to deal with addresses has been a major issue. So I looked at this area in particular and it does seem to work well and give the flexibility needed (this is partly due to the greater flexibility of XML over IMS) and I can easily see this becoming the standard.

XML feed