Are Threads the Problem?

Dr. Russell Winder writes that adding more threads to our CPUs is the problem, not the solution:
“So, if programming languages support threads and operating systems support threads, why is there a problem? The average programmer is not good at programming threads. This is not an indictment of programmers. It is a comment on the ability of all programmers to understand and work with complex multi-threaded systems. It is hard. Very hard. This means that the tool is not suitable for the purpose being asked of it: current programming languages and threads are not good tools for writing programs that run on parallel hardware. The core of the difficulty is that shared-memory concurrency is not an easy model to work with. Many years ago the programming languages Occam and Erlang recognized this fact and chose to work with distributed memory models and message passing. This makes managing concurrency very much easier since there is no need for shared-memory synchronization. In both Occam and Erlang, working with large numbers of independent processes communicating with each other is the norm. This means programs using these languages really harness parallelism, including multicore systems, very easily indeed.” Full Story


About Rich
FlexRex began his life as a cartoon character I created a Sun Microsystems. As the world's first "fictional blogger," he appeared in numerous parody films that made fun of the whole work-from-home thing. Somewhere along the line, the Sun IT department adopted FlexRex as their spokesman in a half-dozen security awareness films for employees. So when I left Sun recently, I started FlexRex Communications, a Marketing company in Portland, Oregon.

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