Wednesday, April 14, 2010

IBM’s PLDE seminar 2010 – Review

I spent today at the IBM Programming Languages and Development Environments Seminar 2010, that took place at the beautiful Haifa Research lab mount Carmel campus. Things worth mentioning:

Gilad Bracha, father of Java Generics and auto-boxing, spent 60 minutes repenting Sun's Java 1.0 early design mistakes, such as allowing primitives and static members into the language. IMHO the lecture itself was so-so. Gilad pointed out Java's soft spots, but didn't bother presenting the crowd what he views as the alternatives. What he did suggest was to check out his new baby programing language Newspeak (something for the purists I guess).

Perhaps some of Java's charm at the early days was its simplicity and low learning curve, I'm not sure that a semantically perfect Java (could there by anything like this?) using nested classes instead of static members would have enjoyed the same mojo.

In one additional interesting lecture, Kathy Barabash, talked about how data structures with a sequential references object graph (say a LinkedList) do not allow traditional concurrent GC Tracing algorithms to scale on many-core (i.e., massive multi-core) platforms.

What good is your new 1,024 cores Intel processor if the desktop widget nuclear explosion simulation flickers because it can only scale on 400 of the available cores, right?

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