I agree with Paul on this and think it
would be very interesting from both our point of view and Lee’s if he
would come as a speaker. Not only do we have an external point of view on
what we are doing, but we can supply a very strong knowledge background to
Lee. Judging by his article he is unaware of our work, although he does come
very close. And looking at his acknowledgements he has a number of
contacts that could be useful, such as Google and Microsoft for the more
industry focussed among us, and a number of universities in the US for the more
School of Computing
From: Paul Walker [mailto:paul@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: 10 July 2006 13:58
To: Barry Cook
Subject: Re: Intel: timely article
By coincidence, and without noticing it was the same
article, I read Edward A Lee's article on "The Problem with Threads"
yesterday evening, and add my commendation to Kevin's and Barry's. It's a
little short notice, but can Lee be invited to give a paper this year?
Also in my reading pile was an article citing Herman Roebbers in Electronics
Systems and Software from the IET (UK IEE as was). The article was "A new
face for FPGA design" by Chris Edwards, and Herman is quoted in respect to
his work at Philips using Handel-C. Herman gets in some good quotes:
"We have been able to complete projects that were
thought nearly impossible using the normal way of doing things."
""The automatic generation of parallelism is never going to work. You
have to design the right way."
and to close the article:
"Electronics engineers do think in parallel and that is what is missing in
many curriculums --- how to think in parallel."
Also, a few months ago, Jonathan Bowen had an article on
myths of formal methods in IEEE Computer. If I remember rightly his overall
message was that "formal" formal methods had not got very far, but
used as a philosophy or way of working, they can have great benefits.
And there is still an opportunity to find out more about Microsoft's HPC
initiative that was acknowledged to have been based on an original paper from
Denis Nicole and other members of the WoTUG community.
So the WoTUG/CPA message is getting out. None of these examples is taking
occam, CSP, or whatever as the only possible solution. But they are all using
the principles and applying it to things where people really do have a problem,
and in a way that does not seem impossibly revolutionary. Surely the way
forward is to talk to these people, to find common ground, and to build on the
common experience and common ground. And, as Kuhn suggests, find even a tiny
number of niches where you give real value and are not rejected, so that you
can then build out from the acceptance in those niches.
Of course it won't be easy. Everyone will have their own agendas and
constraints. Everyone will have to bend a little and yet not abandon the key
issues. And everyone will be rejected many times before finding willing ears.
But there is now real evidence that there is a problem to be solved, there is
real evidence that this community has tools and understanding that can *help*
to solve the problem, there is real evidence that good papers on the subject
can be published in RAE ranking publications, and there is beginning to be real
evidence that a business case can be built for commercial exploitation
(although Barry and I and others who have tried something similar know just how
hard that can be).
Barry Cook wrote:
Thanks for advertising this.
I read this article this morning - I recommend it to
It's author is saying the sort of things we've been
hearing at CPA for many many years. It may be time to dust off some old papers
and re-work them for publication now it seems the world is more receptive to
listening to them (I'm especially thinking of a couple of presentations from
Peter Welch on 1. Deadlock freedom by design and 2. How program segments need
to be understandable within themselves and not require understanding of other
segments they interact with). IEEE Computer is as good a forum as any, its
readership includes the people that we should be reaching and it is, I
hope, acceptable for RAE.
Dr Barry M. Cook, BSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS, CITP, MIEEE
----- Original Message -----
June 27, 2006 12:11 PM
Subject: RE: Intel:
Just to add another article to the
argument, anyone with access to IEEE Computer should take a look at “The
Problem with Threads” in the May 2006 issue (pages 33-42). Here is
someone outside the community (as far as I can tell) developing a framework
that uses “CSP-like concurrency”. They even mention the occam
word, but have no references to anything done at CPA! I would say that we
are doing what the industry wants; just no one knows we’re doing
it. Getting under an IEEE or ACM umbrella may not be appealing to all,
but getting into the major search databases is.
The name of the framework designed is
Ptolemy II and can be found at http://ptolemy.berkeley.edu/ptolemyII/