Concurrency Not Emphasized at Lang:NET

Although concurrency was laid out by Jason Zander as one of the overarching themes of language work moving forward, it was not at all emphasized as a primary concern in any of the talks I saw. There was some talk about language features that a “sufficiently smart compiler” could handle but no one took off their shoe and banged the table and said “We must focus on this!”

I button-holed Erik Meijer and Brian Goetz on the topic: Erik is a great believer in Software Transactional Memory and Brian is “cautiously optimistic” about it. Both were very quick to acknowledge that we don’t really know how people will react to the complexities that emerge when the behavior of memory transactions starts to necessarily diverge from the familiar world of database transactions. When I mentioned the Actor model as being intuitive, Brian astutely diagnosed me as having a Smalltalk background and said that message-passing would be confusing to a population that viewed objects as — I think his phrase was — “glorified structs.”