Wednesday, July 28, 2010

JVM Languages Summit Day 2

Another good day of talks starting with Doug Lea on parallel recursive decomposition using fork-join. Amazing how much subtle tweaking is require to get good performance.

This led into Joshua Bloch's talk on performance. There is so much complexity in all the layers from CPU to OS to language that performance varies a lot. He showed a simple example of a Java program that gave consistent times on multiple runs within a given JVM, but sometimes when you restarted the JVM it would consistently give quite different results! Cliff Click's theory was that it was caused by non-deterministic behavior of the JIT compiler since it runs concurrently. The behavior is still "correct", it can just settle into different states. The solution? Run tests over multiple (eg. 40) different JVM instances. That's on any given machine, of course you should also test on different CPU's and different numbers of cores. Easy for them to say. 

Neal Gafter talked about Microsoft's LINQ technology - pretty cool, although nothing to do with the JVM. 

Kresten Thorup talked about his Erlang implementation on the JVM using Kilim for coroutines. Erlang is an interesting language, and quite different from Java so it was interesting to see how he implemented it. He actually runs the byte code produced by the existing Erlang compiler. 

I talked to Remi Forax about whether I should use his JSR292 backport in jSuneido. This would let me use the new technology before Java 7 is released (who knows when). Of course, he said I should. But ... it means developing with the "beta" JDK 7 which still has bugs and is not supported by IDE's. And then it requires an extra run-time agent. I'm not sure I want to complicate my life that much!

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