[Haskell-cafe] [ANNOUNCE] Parallel Haskell project underway

Dmitry Astapov dmitry at well-typed.com
Mon Nov 15 10:23:36 EST 2010

Parallel Haskell project underway

GHC HQ and Well-Typed are pleased to report that work has started on
the MSR-funded project to push the real-world use of parallel Haskell.

We will be working with four industrial partners over the next two
years, with the aim of demonstrating that parallel Haskell can be
employed successfully in industrial projects.

The participating organizations are:
 * Dragonfly (New Zealand)
 * IIJ Innovation Institute Inc. (Japan)
 * Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA)
 * Willow Garage Inc. (USA)

Each group is working on their own project, applying parallel Haskell
and their domain-specific expertise. In addition to providing advice
on Haskell tools and techniques, we will work with these partners to
identify and resolve any issues that are hindering progress. We are
prepared to handle issues covering anything from the compiler and
runtime system, through to platform, tool and library problems.

All the participants are working on complex, real-world problems. Three
projects involve scientific problems, and the fourth involves network
servers. Three of the projects are targeting single-node SMP systems,
while the fourth is targeting clusters. In two cases, Haskell will be
directly pitted against existing code written in C or C++.

Project progress reports will be posted to the Well-Typed blog [1]
and to the new Parallel Haskell mailing list [2].

[1]: http://www.well-typed.com/blog/
[2]: http://groups.google.com/group/parallel-haskell

== Dragonfly ==


Participants: Finlay Thompson, Edward Abraham

    Cloudy Bayes: Hierarchical Bayesian modeling in Haskell

    The Cloudy Bayes project aims to develop a fast Bayesian model
    fitter that takes advantage of modern multiprocessor machines. It
    will support model descriptions in the BUGS model description
    language (WinBUGS, OpenBUGS, and JAGS). It will be implemented as
    an embedded domain specific language (EDSL) within Haskell. A wide
    range of model hierarchical Bayesian model structures will be
    possible, including many of the models used in medical, ecological,
    and biological sciences.

    Cloudy Bayes will provide an easy to use interface for describing
    models, running Monte Carlo Markov chain (MCMC) fitters, diagnosing
    performance and convergence criteria as it runs, and collecting
    output for post-processing. Haskell's strong type system will be
    used to ensure that model descriptions make sense, providing a
    fast, safe development cycle.

== IIJ Innovation Institute Inc. ==


Participants: Kazu Yamamoto

    Haskell is suitable for many kinds of domain, and GHC's support for
    lightweight threads makes it attractive for concurrency
    applications. An exception has been network server programming
    because GHC 6.12 and earlier have an IO manager that is limited to
    1024 network sockets. The upcoming GHC 7 has a new IO manager
    implementation that gets rid of this limitation.

    This project will implement several network servers to demonstrate
    that Haskell is suitable for network servers that handle a massive
    number of concurrent connections.

== Los Alamos National Laboratory ==


Participants: Michael Buksas, Timothy M. Kelley

    This project will use parallel Haskell to implement
    high-performance Monte Carlo algorithms, a class of algorithms
    which use randomness to sample large or otherwise intractable
    solution spaces. The initial goal is a particle-based MC algorithm
    suitable for modeling the flow of radiation, with application to
    problems in astrophysics. From this, the project is expected to
    move to identification of suitable abstractions for expressing a
    wider variety of Monte Carlo algorithms, and using models for
    different physical phenomena.

== Willow Garage ==


Participants: Ryan Grant

    Distributed Rigid Body Dynamics in ROS

    Willow Garage seeks a high-level representation for a distributed
    rigid body dynamics simulation, capable of excellent parallel
    speedup on current and foreseeable hardware, yet linking to
    existing optimized libraries for low-level message passing and
    matrix math.

    This project will drive API, performance, and profiling tool
    requirements for Haskell's interface to the Message Passing
    Interface (MPI) specification, an industry-standard in High
    Performance Computing (HPC), as used on clusters of many nodes.

    Competing internal initiatives use C++/MPI and CUDA directly.

    Willow Garage aims to lay the groundwork for personal robotics
    applications in everyday life. ROS (Robot Operating System -
    ROS.org) is an open source, meta-operating system for your robot.

Dmitry Astapov
Well-Typed LLP, http://www.well-typed.com/
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