Implementation of the real-time functional language Erlang on a massively parallel platform, with applications to telecommunications services

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Abstract

Many real-time systems need large amounts of computational power. This may soon provide a larger market for parallel computers than the scientific computing area where most of them are used today. Examples of new and interesting areas are telephone switching systems, image recognition, real-time databases, multi-media services and traffic guidance systems. Programming parallel computers for these new applications is often complex and error-phrone. To alleviate this condition, Ericsson has developed a new non-lazy functional programming language called Erlang. This new language, which has already been used in several large projects, was designed to provide a good environment for building large fault-tolerant real-time applications with explicit concurrency.

Existing Erlang implementations run on SISD computers. Together with Ericsson, we have developed a MIMD version of Erlang, initially for the Parsytec GC/PowerPlus. This is one of the first implementations of a functional language used in industry on a MIMD computer. To benchmark the parallel Erlang version, we are using a telecommunications application developed by Ericsson.