[Haskell-cafe] Re: parallel and distributed haskell?

Murray Gross mgross21 at verizon.net
Fri Dec 18 12:41:37 EST 2009

Please note: We have a version of GUM in which PVM has been replaced by 
direct network communication. However, this project has been idle since
the appearance of GHC-6, and I have not been able to get a binary of the
parallel version (which is based on GHC-5) to compile itself.

Murray Gross
Brooklyn College,
City University of New York

On Thu, 17 Dec 2009, Simon Marlow wrote:

> On 16/12/2009 19:21, Scott A. Waterman wrote:
>> It looks like there was a recent hackathon focusing on implementing
>> distributed haskell.
>> http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/HackPar
>> I feel there is quite a bit of latent interest in the subject here,
>> but relatively little active development (compared to erlang, clojure,
>> etc.)
>> Can anyone involved give a quick overview (or pointers to one)?
>> It would be good to hear what directions people are taking, and why,
>> and where it's going.
> The main directions are:
> GUM, which was one of the first parallel implementations of Haskell many 
> years ago [1].  The programming API is the same as GHC has: par/pseq and 
> strategies (indeed this API was invented in the context of GUM, we just 
> re-used it in GHC).
> GUM uses PVM message passing to implement a distributed heap, and can run on 
> clusters of machines or a multicore, or a combination of the two.  GUM has in 
> the past been integrated with GHC, but has sufferred from a lack of 
> development effort so has rotted in recent years.  Efforts are now underway 
> to get it working with GHC HEAD again.
> Eden [2] also uses PVM, but does not have a distributed heap.  It's 
> implementation is much simpler, and the API is rather more explicit than 
> par/seq and strategies.  Eden has been tracking GHC more closely than GUM, 
> but it's still a research project and there's little effort available to make 
> releases.
> Neither of these are really what you'd call "Distributed Haskell", they are 
> implementations of parallel variants of Haskell running on distributed 
> hardware.  There was a Distributed Haskell project, but it is not active at 
> the moment [3].
> Cheers,
> 	Simon
> [1]  GUM: a portable parallel implementation of Haskell 
> http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~dsg/gph/papers/abstracts/gum.html
> [2] Parallel functional programming in Eden
> Journal of Functional Programming  (2005), 15
> [3] http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~dsg/gdh/
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