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Forward to a Promising Future
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computing Science.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computing Science.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computing Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4918-6582
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computing Science.
2018 (English)In: Conference proceedings COORDINATION 2018, 2018Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In many actor-based programming models, asynchronous method calls communicate their results using futures, where the fulfilment occurs under-the-hood. Promises play a similar role to futures, except that they must be explicitly created and explicitly fulfilled; this makes promises more flexible than futures, though promises lack fulfilment guarantees: they can be fulfilled once, multiple times or not at all. Unfortunately, futures are too rigid to exploit many available concurrent and parallel patterns. For instance, many computations block on a future to get its result only to return that result immediately (to fulfil their own future). To make futures more flexible, we explore a construct, forward, that delegates the responsibility for fulfilling the current implicit future to another computation. Forward reduces synchronisation and gives futures promise-like capabilities. This paper presents a formalisation of the forward construct, defined in a high-level source language, and a compilation strategy from the high-level language to a low-level, promised-based target language. The translation is shown to preserve semantics. Based on this foundation, we describe the implementation of forward in the parallel, actor-based language Encore, which compiles to C.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
parallel, concurrency, futures, actors, tasks
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-351352OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-351352DiVA, id: diva2:1209721
Conference
COORDINATION - 20th International Conference on Coordination Models and Languages, Madrid, June 18-21, 2018.
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2020-11-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Abstractions to Control the Future
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Abstractions to Control the Future
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Multicore and manycore computers are the norm nowadays, and users have expectations that their programs can do multiple things concurrently. To support that, developers use concur- rency abstractions such as threads, promises, futures, and/or channels to exchange information. All these abstractions introduce trade-offs between the concurrency model and the language guarantees, and developers accept these trade-offs for the benefits of concurrent programming.

Many concurrent languages are multi-paradigm, e.g., mix the functional and object-oriented paradigms. This is beneficial to developers because they can choose the most suitable approach when solving a problem. From the point of view of concurrency, purely functional programming languages are data-race free since they only support immutable data. Object-oriented languages do not get a free lunch, and neither do multi-paradigm languages that have imperative features.

The main problem is uncontrolled concurrent access to shared mutable state, which may inadvertently introduce data-races. A data-race happens when two concurrent memory operations target the same location, at least one of them is a write, and there is no synchronisation operation involved. Data-races make programs to exhibit (unwanted) non-deterministic behaviour.

The contribution of this thesis is two-fold. First, this thesis introduces new concurrent abstractions in a purely functional, statically typed programming language (Paper I – Paper III); these abstractions allow developers to write concurrent control- and delegation-based patterns. Second, this thesis introduces a capability-based dynamic programming model, named Dala, that extends the applicability of the concurrent abstractions to an imperative setting while maintaining data-race freedom (Paper IV). Developers can also use the Dala model to migrate unsafe programs, i.e., programs that may suffer data-races, to data-race free programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2021. p. 85
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1986
Keywords
concurrent, programming, type system, future, actors, active objects
National Category
Computer Systems
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-425128 (URN)978-91-513-1062-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-01-18, Room 2446, ITC, Lägerhyddsvägen 2, hus 2, Uppsala, 16:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-12-21 Created: 2020-11-18 Last updated: 2021-01-25

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