Friday, January 11, 2008

Parallel Programming + Type inference + Scientific notation: A Winner?

I came across this article in Linux Today which describes Project Fortress, an open-source effort from Sun to provide a language based on Fortran to easily write parallel programs. The project seems to be built on top of Java. Some salient features seem to be:
  1. Implicit parallelism: If you want to execute a loop sequentially you have to explicitly write that. The big claim is of course, using this efficiently on multi-core machines.
  2. Support for unicode: As a result, the scientific research community can make use of greek alphabets in their code, and even use things like superscripts, subscripts, and hats and bars! This means that your code is going to look a lot more like your algorithm.
  3. Automated Type inference: The system has extensive type inference (the kind that functional languages and C# 3.0 have) and that means that your code is far more readable.
  4. Extensive library support: In fact, even some parts of the main system are implemented as libraries. They expose the parsed AST to the programmer, and give him extensive control.
These sound quite interesting, and it seems that the scientific computing language of the future is going to look a lot like Fortress, if they are successful with this effort.

12 comments:

Dean said...

InfoQ has a good video of a keynote by Guy Steele on Fortress.

http://www.infoq.com/presentations/fortress-steele

JeromeB said...

It's not based on Fortran, that's just marketing-crap.

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