Actor-Oriented Design: Concurrent Models as Programs
Concurrent, domain-specific languages such as Simulink, LabVIEW, Modelica, VHDL, SystemC, and OPNET provide modularization mechanisms that are significantly different from those in prevailing object-oriented languages such as C++ and Java. In these languages, components are concurrent objects that communicate via messaging,rather than abstract data structures that interact via procedure calls. Although the concurrency and communication semantics differ considerably between languages, they share enough common features that we consider them to be a family. We call them actor-oriented languages.
Actor-oriented languages, like object-oriented languages, are about modularity of software. I will argue that we can adapt for actor-oriented languages many (if not all) of the innovations of OO design, including concepts such as the separation of interface from implementation, strong typing of interfaces, subtyping, classes, inheritance, and aspects. I will show some preliminary implementations of these mechanisms in a Berkeley system called Ptolemy II.
Edward A. Lee is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at U.C. Berkeley. His research interests center on design, modeling, and simulation of distributed, embedded, real-time computational systems. He is a director of Chess, the Berkeley Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems, and is the director of the Berkeley Ptolemy project. He is co-author of five books and numerous papers. His bachelors degree (B.S.) is from Yale University (1979), his masters (S.M.) from MIT (1981), and his Ph.D. from U. C. Berkeley (1986). From 1979 to 1982 he was a member of technical staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, in the Advanced Data Communications Laboratory. He is a co-founder of BDTI, Inc., where he is currently a Senior Technical Advisor, and has consulted for a number of other companies. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator, and won the 1997 Frederick Emmons Terman Award for Engineering Education.
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