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

Philippe Monnaie Philippe.Monnaie at gmail.com
Thu Dec 28 00:23:45 EST 2006


I indeed have my doubts as well on STM making concurrency that much
easier. But I have to say it does offer some advantages on the side.
The abort/retry semantics make your program immune to deadlock, and
STM should make abstraction easier by making synchronization
structures composable.

On the other hand, a program with heavy data sharing, would produce
lots of collisions, leading to starvation and performance slowing down
to a crawl. So I have to agree that it won't work in every case.

Concerning the latter part of your comment, would it be possible to
solve this with design techniques, much like object oriented
programming simplified writing larger programs?


- Philippe

On 12/27/06, David Holmes <dcholmes at optusnet.com.au> wrote:
> 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
> "skyscraper".
>
> Cheers,
> David
>
> > -----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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