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On the Execution of Ambients

Matthew Sackman, Susan Eisenbach

Conference or Workshop Paper
MTCoord 2007
June, 2007

Successfully harnessing multi-threaded programming has recently received renewed attention. The GHz war of the last years has been replaced with a parallelism war, each manufacturer seeking to produce CPUs supporting a greater number of threads in parallel execution.

The Ambient calculus offers a simple yet powerful means to model communication, distributed computation and mobility. However, given its first class support for concurrency, we sought to investigate the utility of the Ambient calculus for practical programming purposes.

Although too low-level to be considered as a general-purpose programming language itself, the Ambient calculus is nevertheless a suitable virtual machine for the execution of mobile and distributed higher-level languages. We present the Glint Virtual Machine: an interpreter for the Safe Boxed Ambient calculus. The GlintVM provides an effective platform for mobile, distributed and parallel computation and should ease some of the difficulties of writing compilers for languages that can exploit the new thread-parallel architectures.

Process Algebra
Distributed Software Engineering
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