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Sunday, May 06, 2007

What Goes Around

Is the actor model on the list of foundational topics in CS programs today?

Is the actor model about "objects"? Why or why not?

Is the actor model relevant today? Why or why not?

Are today's systems becoming more or becoming less like actor systems? Why or why not?

2 comments:

Didro said...

Is the actor model on the list of foundational topics in CS programs today?

Yes. Because it is a common model, and it is so common that it is eternal.

Is the actor model about "objects"? Why or why not?
What "objects" are you speaking for? If you mean the OOP-objects (instances of class), then actor model isn't only about such objects. It is about active object (object in a general sense).
For example we can have an actor as the OOP-object with hisown thread of execution (and so we'll have multithread system, when an actor will be associated with the thread).
On the other hand, we can have many actors(OOP-objects) is associated with one thread, and we must(if we wish to have actors) manually splice the execution time of that one thread between ours actors(OOP-object). It is so-called handon scheduler.
Also we can coding our actor by many OOP-objects if we wish.
As I've already said actor model is very common :)

Is the actor model relevant today? Why or why not?
I think, that actor model relevant in case of modelling(simulating systems). Such systems are fatherland for actors, that is the cause.
My favorite example of actor model application is Ptolemy II project. That project is based on actor model, and it uses actor model as foundation for construction of new tools(languages) for struggling with difficalties of parallel(concurrent) programming.

tyler said...

Is the actor model on the list of foundational topics in CS programs today?

Not where I went to school and I just graduated. Like, a semester ago.

However, what I found interesting after reading about it was that I remembered hearing a professor once say that in a discussion he was having with a major employer, the topic of focus and direction came up and my professor recalled: "I don't care if they know what the stack is, how to address memory , how deep the pipeline is or what the ALU is for, but if they tell me everything there is to know about concurrency then they'll have a job here waiting for them."

Then of course, we went back to talking about stacks, endianness and pipelining instructions. ;)

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.