Info on Smalltalk DSLs or Metaprogramming...

Rich Warren rwmlist at
Thu Aug 17 11:52:25 UTC 2006

On Aug 17, 2006, at 12:52 AM, David T. Lewis wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 16, 2006 at 11:36:33PM -1000, Rich Warren wrote:
>> Ruby can more-easily create actual child processes, which might let
>> me plow through the data faster on a dual-core machine (though, I
>> believe this might lock it into only running on Unix boxes).
> Given that you are expecting to run on a unix box anyway, you can
> do this quite easily in Squeak, see OSProcess and CommandShell on
> SqueakMap. If you want to run multiple Squeak images on multiple
> CPUs, look at #forkSqueak.

Aha. Again, it's the low on the learning curve curse. I guess I  
shouldn't be surprised. Both use the same basic threading model. I  
should have suspected a similar OS process forking abilities.

> But I would be very surprised if you need this in practice. You can
> manipulate really large amounts of data directly in Squeak, and
> you'll be amazed how fast it can be.  Once you load your data into
> Squeak, everything is in memory, and Squeak itself is quite fast.

You're probably right, given that using both cores will give me a 2x  
boost, max (and that's being overly optimistic). So the speed boost  
you mention might largely compensate. Struggling to get it running on  
both cores feels like trying to eek out more speed by implementing it  
in highly profiled and optimized (and therefor non-portable) c code  
and assembly. I don't need to go down that road.

I do have a few machines on my home network whose idle cycles I could  
borrow. That's where something like Rinda becomes more attractive.  
And, if I work out the bugs in my home network, then I could run it  
on the school's 32-processor cluster. Doing that should give me an  
order of magnitude boost in speed--which could make a big difference,  
depending on how many simulations we want to run (I'm guessing at  
least in the mid- to high- 100s), and how long each simulation will  

Regarding the DSL itself, I am currently planning on trying to  
implement it using just classes and methods. Using the config file  
approach, I'll read in a line at a time, and evaluate each line.  But  
I'll check out SmaCC, just in case I need the extra power.



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