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Title: DynamiTE : a 21st-century framework for concurrent component-based design
Author: Hughes, Andrew John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 3582
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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The free ride for software developers is over. In the past, computer programs have increased in performance simply by running on new hardware with ever increasing clock speeds. Now, however, this line of development has reached its end and chip designers are producing new processors, not with faster clocks, but with more cores. To take advantage of the speed increases offered by these new products, applications need to be redesigned with parallel processing firmly in mind. The problem is that mainstream designs are still inherently sequential. Concurrency tends to be an afterthought that may be useful to gain a performance boost, not an essential part of the design process. The current vogue for object-oriented designs tends to also have the side-effect of making them heavily data-oriented which doesn't scale well; each shared element of data has to be protected from simultaneous access, resulting in operations becoming sequential again. In addition, the usual methods for protecting data tend to be very low-level and error-prone. In this thesis, we introduce a new design method whereby applications are constructed from small sequential tasks connected by intercommunication primitives. Our approach is based on a two-stage process; first, the individual tasks are created as independent entities and tested with appropriate inputs, then secondly, the communication infrastructure between them is developed. We provide support for the latter via the DynamiTE framework, which allows the interactions to be defined using the terms of a process calculus. Depending on the developer's background, they can treat this as just another API, as a design pattern or as an algebraic expression which can be property checked for issues such as deadlocks. Either way, the communication layer can be developed, tested and evaluated separately from the tasks once it is known how the tasks will interface with one another. To supplement DynamiTE, we define our own process calculus, Nomadic Time, using a carefully chosen novel selection of constructs. Among the features of the calculus are the ability to perform communication both locally (one-to-one) and globally (one-to-many), and the flexibility to change the location of tasks during execution. Security is paramount to the design of Nomadic Time and migratory operations can be limited in two ways; by simple enumeration of possibilities or by the optional typing of constructs to allow restriction on a task-by-task basis. While it can't eradicate all the problems inherent in designing concurrent applications, DynamiTE can make things easier by reducing the dependency on shared resources and enhancing the reusability of concurrent components.
Supervisor: Stannett, Mike P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available