[Haskell-cafe] Re: Stone age programming for space age hardware?

Matthias Guedemann matthias.guedemann at ovgu.de
Wed Jun 9 04:07:04 EDT 2010

> Perhaps it's just my lack of imagination that was driving my original 
> question. I'm just having a hard time imagining how to write reasonably 
> interesting algorithms that way.

Very likely they have very specific functionality and hopefully a precise
specification about what to do if the memory bounds are reached (at least some
"failsafe" mode etc.) Many of these programs are very simple, but deliberately
> As I wrote, they might "cheat". It's entirely possible to implement 
> dynamic memory on top of fixed-size arrays and use indexes instead of 
> pointers. Of course, I have no idea if that's what they do.

I think it is very likely done that way. I know this kind of programming from
Java-smartcards. These support a subset of Java and allow the creation of objects
only when installing a program on the card. There is no garbage collection,
objects are persistent, i.e. creating new objects at runtime would fill up the
available (very low) memory. "Dynamic" creation is done by reusing one "freed"
object of the statically allocated ones or returning an error if no free object
is available. 

Systems in high security or safety applications and those with properties like
very low memory, very slow CPUs etc. often have requirements that makes direct
usage of languages like Haskell very difficult or impossible. They are
programmed in a way that makes their behavior as deterministic as possible,
often also from the temporal view. If you have dynamic data structures with
non-O(1) access it is also not possible to guarantee RT bounds.


More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list