Two years ago I posted a review of Nicholas Carriero and David Gelernter's How to write parallel programs. Today I came across an Edge roundtable discussion with David Gelernter (via Patrick Logan).
The entire discussion is fascinating, and I recommend reading up more on Gelernter's work if you are not familiar with it before watching the interview.
For me, there were three new insights from the roundtable:
- Message passing is the assembly language of distributed systems.
- Databases are a way to communicate through time. Networks are a way to communicate through space. Both are symmetrical. The point of Linda was to unify them.
- The most powerful computers today are botnets. Botnets are also on the leading edge of distributed systems techniques.
In the second video, Gelernter discusses Lifestreams. It's amazing how closely FriendFeed, Twitter, and the new Facebook are all following the roadmap established by Lifestreams over a decade ago.