[concurrency-interest] Nice video interview with Tim Harris andSimon Peyton-Jones

David Holmes dcholmes at optusnet.com.au
Wed Dec 27 17:38:22 EST 2006

STM is just the latest (incomplete!) attempt at providing a system that
takes care of concurrency for you. I am not a believer. There are too many
different kinds of interactions that undermine a "one size fits all"
approach. Time will tell ...

The problem with concurrency is not the "materials" but the general
architecture. First you need to understand your sharing and atomicity
requirements and then you have to enforce them. Where people fail is in the
first step - understanding the problem - but it manifests in the second and
so we blame the mechanism as being too hard to use.

The issue isn't "bananas" for building skyscrapers, it's thinking you can
build a skyscraper just because you built a tree-house (or in some cases
because you read the plans for a tree-house!).

Of course the counter-argument is that perhaps locks and threads are only
good for building "tree houses", even if you do know how to build a


> -----Original Message-----
> From: concurrency-interest-bounces at cs.oswego.edu
> [mailto:concurrency-interest-bounces at cs.oswego.edu]On Behalf Of Brian
> Goetz
> Sent: Thursday, 28 December 2006 5:44 AM
> To: Concurrency-interest at cs.oswego.edu
> Subject: [concurrency-interest] Nice video interview with Tim Harris
> andSimon Peyton-Jones
> http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=231495
> Lousy interviewer, but good interviewees, talking about transactional
> memory and the future of concurrency.
> My favorite quote (paraphrased): "Building concurrent programs with
> locks is kind of like building a skyscraper out of bananas.  Smart
> people can come up with clever techniques for hooking bananas together,
> but the result is still fragile.  Rather than investing energy in
> mastering banana-coupling techniques, it would be better to invest it in
> better materials."
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