OO Machines: Rekursiv

Al Underbrink al at hsvaic.boeing.com
Wed Feb 5 14:31:59 UTC 1992

;I read several Rekursiv papers, had several long talks with David Harland,
;and remained unimpressed.  The Rekursiv was an extremely elaborate design
;with a very large amount of specialized hardware, some of it very
;high-performance (e.g., the object table associative RAM).  Comparing it
;against software and commercial hardware technology of the same era,
;assuming the availability of equal amounts of money to spend, made it look
;pretty weak.  A factor of 5 in raw processing speed and memory capacity
;(which is about what you could buy in off-the-shelf components) makes up
;for an awful lot of hardware/software misfit.  In my opinion, the Self
;compiler further strengthens the case for implementation on commercial

;Persistent object memories per se do not solve the hard problems in
;multi-user, long-lived environments.  The Rekursiv made no attempt to deal
;with anything other than the single-user, single-machine world.

What about programs made possible by the Rekursiv CONCEPT?  That is, all
von Neumann machines execute some sort of operating system which manages
memory, security, persistent store, etc.  When hardware support is
tailored to object-oriented programs, the need for an operating system
goes away.  Each object implements its own word size, storage format &
optimization, security measures, and so on.  Further, the objects, with
their "OS" functions almost fully subsumed by their own implementation,
could be executed on distributed processors.  This raises new control
issues, but the point remains (at least in my opinion): Rekursiv
explored a paradigm different from traditional von Neumann architectures
and programming approaches.  This program paradigm transcends the issue
of hardware performance.

This thread may not be entirely appropriate for self-interest, but I
find it intellectually stimulating.



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