Distributed programming with shared data
Proceedings. 1988 International Conference on Computer Languages
Until recently, at least one thing was clear about parallel programming: tightly coupled (shared memory) machines were programmed in a language based on shared variables and loosely coupled (distributed) systems were programmed using message passing. The explosive growth of research on distributed systems and their languages, however, has led to several new methodologies that blur this simple distinction. Operating system primitives (e.g., problem-oriented shared memory, Shared Virtual Memory,
... ed Virtual Memory, the Agora shared memory) and languages (e.g., Concurrent Prolog, Linda, Emerald) for programming distributed systems have been proposed that support the shared variable paradigm without the presence of physical shared memory. In this paper we will look at the reasons for this evolution, the resemblances and differences among these new proposals, and the key issues in their design and implementation. It turns out that many implementations are based on replication of data. We take this idea one step further, and discuss how automatic replication (initiated by the run time system) can be used as a basis for a new model, called the shared data-object model, whose semantics are similar to the shared variable model. Finally, we discuss the design of a new language for distributed programming, Orca, based on the shared data-object model.