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Experience Report: Erlang in Acoustic Ray Tracing

Christian Convey, Andrew Fredricks, Christopher Gagner, Douglas Maxwell and Lutz Hamel

The 13th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP 2008)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, September 22-24, 2008


We investigated the relative merits of C++ and Erlang in the implementation of a parallel acoustic ray tracing algorithm for the U.S. Navy. We found a much smaller learning curve and better debugging environment for parallel Erlang than for pthreads-based C++ programming. Our C++ implementation outperformed the Erlang program by at least 12x. Attempts to use Erlang on the IBM Cell BE microprocessor were frustrated by Erlang's memory footprint.

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