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Author Sutherland, Ivan
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Audio ♦ Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF ♦ MP4
Language English
Subject Domain (in DDC) Computer science, information & general works ♦ Computer programming, programs & data
Subject Keyword Sequential ♦ Hardware ♦ Languages ♦ Parallel ♦ Notation
Abstract We are trapped in a sequential prison. We use sequential character strings to write sequential programs to control sequential computers. No wonder concurrency remains elusive. How did we come to be here? The high cost of vacuum tube logic forced sequence upon early computer builders. Sequential character strings were the economic way to describe what sequential computers should do. Sequential programs controlled the expensive part of the machine, namely logic. The lethargic pace of logic circuits masked the cost of moving data over distance, allowing programming languages to ignore the cost of communication. Today, the time delay and energy cost of communicating over distance dominate modern computers; logic is essentially free. Why then, do programming languages continue to control logic and largely ignore communication? It will take a broad effort to escape our sequential prison, requiring changes in hardware, programming notations and the ways in which they are expressed. Most importantly, it will require recognizing that we are in sequential prison, and planning for an escape.
Description Affiliation: Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA (Sutherland, Ivan)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 1983-05-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal ACM SIGPLAN Notices (SIGP)
Volume Number 46
Issue Number 10
Page Count 2
Starting Page 1
Ending Page 2


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Source: ACM Digital Library