I saw The Avengers tonight, and then I saw Kresten Krab Thorup’s Erlang, The Road Movie presentation at SPLASH 2011, and I think the latter was more exciting. I suppose it helped that I’ve seen The Avengers three times now.

Before you watch the video, read Erlang is not a Concurrent Functional Programming Language. If that doesn’t get your heart racing a bit, don’t bother with the video.1

I’ll readily admit that I’m too far removed from the software development world to be able to vouch for Dr. Thorup’s arguments or conclusions, but he certainly reinforces my perception of Erlang as a dramatic improvement over C++ and Java. OTP in particular seems to do such a great job of abstracting away the technical challenges of running complex software that the developer can zero in on solving business problems.

He applies the concept of paradigm shifts as espoused by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to the software development world, and asserts that the anomalies resulting from threading and objects in today’s OO languages lead to the conclusion that a new paradigm is needed. Erlang, he feels, is the progenitor of actor-based languages that we’ll be using in the future, much like Simula gave birth to the object paradigm.

I’ll definitely be watching more of his presentations on InfoQ.

  1. But then, what are you doing on my blog in the first place?

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