[Haskell-cafe] Execution Contexts

Keean Schupke k.schupke at imperial.ac.uk
Sat Nov 27 11:55:57 EST 2004

A general point on top-level TWIs. It occurs to me that all variables 
are local to
something (function, object, thread, process, machine, network, 
world...). I think it
is an error to limit Haskells domain. If we allow unique per process 
variables (top-level
TWI's) we limit our level of abstraction to a process - haskell cannot 
dispatch processes
beacuse it cannot handle the multiple process contexts required.

All the attempts at modelling execution contexts therefore seem a better 
solution than
top-level TWIs which limit us to a single process world model. It seems 
the real world
is an infinitely deep nesting of abstractions, so uniqueness is always 
relative to its context.
Using the object model, we can have a process object, this object can 
ensure uniqueness
of values within the context of a process - which is what Adrian wants. 
However if we
want uniqueness at the next level, say the per CPU level, then a CPU 
object is the relavent

It seems to me the object model fits perfectly, and what people are 
trying to do is
turn modules into primitive objects complete with data-hiding and 
(top-level TWIs)... However modules cannot be nested so the model breaks 
down, and
we end up needing first-class modules anyway.

Of course objects can be modeled another way (see 
using the HList library... The syntax is simple enough, but would still 
benefit from a little
sytactic sugar (hopefully to be providied by template-haskell, but this 
part is a work in

So in conclusion, it seems to me that that objects in Haskell solve all 
the problems
that top-level TWIs solve, and still allow encapsulation and multiple 
contexts to be handled by the RTS. So use them!

Sorry for the rambling explanation and shameless promotion of HLists...


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