A unified model for inter- and intra-processor concurrency
Although concurrency is generally perceived to be a `hard' subject, it can in fact be very simple --- provided that the underlying model is simple. The occam-pi parallel processing language provides such a simple yet powerful concurrency model that is based on CSP and the pi-calculus. This thesis presents pony, the occam-pi Network Environment. occam-pi and pony provide a new, unified, concurrency model that bridges inter- and intra-processor concurrency. This enables the development of distributed applications in a transparent, dynamic and highly scalable way. The author specified the layout of the pony system as presented in this thesis, and carried out about 90% of the implementation. This thesis is structured into three main parts, as well as an introduction and an appendix. In the introduction, the need for a unified concurrency model is examined in detail. Thereupon, the pony environment is presented as a solution that provides such a unified model. The first part of this thesis is concerned with the usage of the pony environment for the development of distributed applications. It presents the interface between pony and the user-level code, as well as pony's configuration and a sample application. The second part presents the design and implementation of the pony environment. It explains the internal structure of pony, the implementation of pony's components and public processes, and the integration of pony in the KRoC compiler. The third part evaluates pony's performance and contains the final conclusions. It presents a number of performance tests and concludes with a discussion of the work presented in this thesis, along with an outline of possible future research.