Open Systems Laboratory at Illinois

Supporting multiparadigm programming on actor architectures

By Gul Agha. In PARLE (2), volume 366 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 1–19. Springer, 1989.

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This paper discusses some intuitions about models of concurrency. Several examples of concurrent systems are presented to illustrate different kinds of concurrent computational structures. I argue that supporting large-scale concurrent systems requires building on some surprisingly simple programming primitives. However, some models of concurrency cannot support these primitives. I describe the actor model which incorporates these primitives and illustrate its potential use in supporting different programming paradigms. Developments in concurrent computers are briefly discussed; specifically, I argue that because of their scalability, multicomputers represent the most promising development in computer architecture. Multicomputers provide a powerful realization of the actor model. Finally, I sketch the relation between different programming paradigms and actors and argue for the advantages of multiparadigm programming systems obtained by embedding different programming languages in an actor base.

The author has benefited from discussions with William Athas, William Dally, Carl Hewitt, Won Kim, Carl Manning, Ravi Mirchandaney, Alan Perlis, Vineet Singh, Chris Tomlinson, and Peter Wegner. This research has been supported by DARPA under ONR grant number N00014-86-K-0310.


    author = "Agha, Gul",
    editor = "Odijk, Eddy and Rem, Martin and Syre, Jean-Claude",
    title = "Supporting Multiparadigm Programming on Actor
    booktitle = "PARLE (2)",
    crossref = "conf/parle/1989-2",
    ee = "",
    pages = "1-19",
    year = "1989",

    editor = "Odijk, Eddy and Rem, Martin and Syre, Jean-Claude",
    title = "PARLE '89: Parallel Architectures and Languages
             Europe, Volume II: Parallel Languages, Eindhoven, The Netherlands,
             June 12-16, 1989, Proceedings",
    isbn = "3-540-51285-3",
    publisher = "Springer",
    series = "Lecture Notes in Computer Science",
    volume = "366",
    year = "1989",