Stefan Marr has just announced on his blog the relase of RoarVM, the first single-image manycore virtual machine for Smalltalk. RoarVM is based on the work on Renaissance VM by David Ungar and Sam S. Adams at IBM Research, and was ported to x86 architecture by Stefan.

From his post: “The RoarVM supports the parallel execution of Smalltalk programs on x86 compatible multicore systems and Tilera TILE64-based manycore systems. It is tested with standard Squeak 4.1 closure-enabled images, and with a stripped down version of a MVC-based Squeak 3.7 image.” Support for Pharo 1.2 is currently limited to 1 core, but this is being worked on!

Here’s some indicative figures for this new VM (using an adapted version of tinyBenchmarks on an MVC image):

 1 core   66M bytecodes/sec;  3M sends/sec
 8 cores 470M bytecodes/sec; 20M sends/sec

As Stefan notes “The RoarVM is a research project and is not as optimized for performance as the standard Squeak VM”. For comparison:

Squeak 4.2.4beta1U, MVC image, OS X 555M bytecodes/sec; 12M sends/sec

so you’ll need a few cores active before you start to see improvements over your existing image! There are also a number of known issues with the current implementation.

You can download the code from the RoarVm page at GitHub, contribute to the discussion on the vm-dev mailing list, or follow #RoarVM updates on Twitter.

Lambda the Ultimate is celebrating 10 years of its own existence, 30 (nominal) years of Smalltalk-80 and PARC turning 40, by revisiting a classic article Design Principles Behind Smalltalk by Dan Ingalls. From the post: “Ingalls’s piece should be filed under Visionary Languages. Alas, no such category exists on LtU.” Does this mean that Smalltalk-80 was the last visionary language?

Anyone with an interest in the continuing role and development of Smalltalk has had lots to chew on over the past few days.

As part of  a series of investigations into the most widely-used programming languages, Computerworld Australia has published a conversation with Alan Kay about his role in the development of the “foundation of much of modern programming today: Smalltalk-80″, Object-Oriented Programming, and modern software development.

InfoQ is running a series of interviews recorded at QCon London. One of these is a session with Ralph Johnson and Joe Armstrong discussing the Future of OOP, including their take on what Smalltalk got wrong and right.

Finally, Gilad Bracha continues to lay out his vision for what he sees as Smalltalk’s successor, Newspeak. His latest post contains encouragement and advice for those interested in porting existing libraries and applications to Newspeak.

Good news from Mariano Martinez Peck, one of the key organisers of the joint Smalltalk entry into this year’s Google Summer of Code: the students started work on their projects this week!

Following Google’s decision to focus on fewer organisations last year, ESUG co-ordinated a joint application for projects across all Smalltalk dialects this year, and were so successful in this venture that they got approval for 6 projects. You can find out more about the selected projects at the projects page.

For the last two weeks or so, students have been talking and discussing with their mentors, reading and investigating about the projects, and perhaps getting an early start on their development work. This was in line with the GSoC deadlines that you can read at the ESUG GSoC site and at the GSoC blog.

The organisers have told students to ask in case of problems or questions to their mentors but also to the community through the mailing list, so be prepared to help out with questions and issues that the students may have.

Mariano says “Good luck to all students and enjoy this wonderful opportunity you have. Now we are in the best part of the program!”

Janko and Mariano who are co-ordinating the joint ESUG application to this year’s Google Summer of Code are now looking for students to apply for the thirty-five proposed projects. The process couldn’t be simpler: review the list of projects, and you can register your interest in projects with just one click once you’re registered. You can also contact the project mentors for more information.

Note that this approach allows many students to register for each project, so if you want to improve your chances, make sure the project mentors can see why you would be the best choice for their project by editing your biography, and making sure that your contact information is up to date!

You must register by 9th April, so get cracking!

Any questions, visit the ESUG GSoC website, or contact the admins at esug.gsoc.adm2010@gmail.com.

Cincom are starting 2010 with their Smalltalk Technology Conference 2010 World Tour. This is a chance to learn more about how Smalltalk helps companies around the world reduce costs, improve efficiency, and get to market faster.

The Cincom team of Suzanne Fortman, James Robertson, Arden Thomas and Andreas Hiltner will be joined at the venues by Georg Heeg, giving a customer perspective on how Smalltalk can help your organisation, and Gartner analyst Tom Murphy, talking about the value of dynamic languages in general, and of Smalltalk in particular.

The schedule of events is:
  • Seattle, 21 January
  • Toronto, 26 January
  • D.C. Metro Area, 28 January
  • London, 2 March
  • Paris, 4 March
Find out more about each session on the events page of Cincom’s glossy new website, and keep an eye on James Robertson’s blog for updates as they happen.

Return To Smalltalk

7 November, 2009

NY-Skyline

The NYC Smalltalk group manages an active programme of talks and presentations, and this month’s talk looks to be very interesting. Daniel Antion, Vice President of Information Services at American Nuclear Insurers, discusses why his company began planning to migrate away from Smalltalk, and the evolving circumstances that caused them to take the difficult decision to reverse this strategy.

Dan has been working in Smalltalk since 1994 and develops most of ANI’s transaction processing systems. Dan has presented at Smalltalk Solutions, OOPSLA and the AIIM Expo on topics related to systems development, content management and SharePoint.

Dan’s experience and position within ANI mean that he can offer some real insights into the perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of Smalltalk from a corporate perspective, and the ongoing challenges it faces. He says “I’m not sure we saved Smalltalk forever but we bought it some serious time. The technical details that work for Smalltalk include its stability, malleability and extensibility. We still have concerns but we think they can be mitigated.”

If you’re going to be in New York on 18th November, find out more about Dan’s talk on the NYC Smalltalk website.

(Image by meironke on flickr)

Smalltalk Party in Paris

17 October, 2009

Noury Bouraqadi wrote to the squeak-dev mailing list with news that French Smalltalk users are holding their eighth annual SmalltalkParty in Paris on Saturday 28th November 2009.

The empahsis is on short presentations, so there promises to be plenty of interesting presentations. Items already planned for discussion include:

  • Speed dating with Smalltalk—Smalltalk in 15 min
  • Pharo: a Smalltalk vision
  • Profiler in Smalltalk
  • Mondrian  visualisations
  • Seaside by example
  • Small Parser—an executable grammar-based parser
  • Helvetia: A framework for DSLs
  • Coral: a Smalltalk scripting Langage
  • F-Script 2.0 news

The session will be held at Ecole des Mines de Paris, Boulevard Saint Michel – Paris and runs from 09:00 to 17:00.

For more information (in French) see the SmalltalkParty webpage.

esug-logo

The Innovation Technology Awards session is one of the real highlights of the annual International Smalltalk Conference organised by ESUG each year.

Noury Bouraqadi has just posted to remind everyone that you only have until 1st July to nominate your work for an award. Put together a brief description of your work, which can be in any Smalltalk dialect, make it available for inspection online, and be prepared to demonstrate it to a constant stream of inquisitive Smalltalkers during the conference, and you could win up to €500 in addition to the recognition and respect of your peers.

Have a look at Noury’s site for an introduction to the ideas that have proved popular in the past, or our own details of last year’s winners.

All the administrative details can be found on the ESUG 2009 website – so get those application forms in now!

And in case you’ve forgotten, this year’s conference is in Brest, France from 31 August—4 September, 2009. It will be preceded by Camp Smalltalk running on the weekend of 29—30 August 2009, and incorporates the International Workshop on Smalltalk Technologies on 31 August.

back-to-the-future

More exciting conference news for Smalltalk aficionados: James Foster has announced on his blog that this year’s OOPSLA conference will include several tutorials with a Smalltalk theme including his “Back to the Future: Programming in Smalltalk” in which he will look at the “new” ideas from Smalltalk that are still influencing newer programming languages. He will examine some of these ideas and present a number of tutorial exercises that explore some of Smalltalk’s  fundamentally different approach to language design and object orientation, including the following aspects:

  • All values are objects, even integers, booleans, and characters (no boxing/unboxing);
  • Classes and methods are objects (supporting reflection);
  • The language has only five reserved words;
  • All control flow (looping and conditional branching) is done through message sends;
  • Programming is done by sending messages to existing objects; and
  • The base class library can be modified.

James works on Gemstone’s high performance product family based on Smalltalk, but intends the exercises to be relevant across different versions.

This year’s OOPSLA will be held in Orlando, Florida from 25 to 29 October, and will also be co-located with the Dynamic Languages Symposium, which will doubtless have lots to interest Smalltalkers.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a European break this year, don’t forget that the 2009 International Smalltalk Conference, organised by ESUG, will be held in Brest, France, from 31 August to 4 September, and also has a great set of sessions lined up.

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