[FoRK] Linda on the Grid

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu Aug 26 08:11:22 PDT 2004

Dr. Dobb's article of interest:



Blog post about same (content follows):


Linda and Service Oriented Architectures

The September issue of Dr. Dobbs has an article (PDF) by Ron Bjornson 
and Andrew Sherman of TurboWorx on the use of Linda in Grid computing. 
Ron and Andrew both got their PhDs from Yale where Linda was developed 
by David Gelernter (As an aside, Gelernter is the Yale CS Prof who 
almost got blown up by the Unibomber.) If you're not familiar with 
Linda, its a programming model (i.e. it can be added to existing 
languages) that does interprocess communication using a free-form tuple 
space. Tuple spaces offer an alternative to message-oriented service 
oriented architectures like Web-services.

The primary difference between tuple-spaces and message-based system is 
that message-based systems require a delivery endpoint, or at least 
need a way to discover one. One process sends the message specifying 
the task to be done to another process. Tuple-spaces are more like 
bulletin board systems, where the originating process merely specifies 
a need and other processes meet that need as they can. Linda was the 
inspiration behind Jini's JavaSpaces.

This may sound like topic-based pub-sub systems, but there's a subtle 
difference. In tuple-spaces, processes search the tuple space, using a 
pattern language, for matches rather than subscribing to a particular 
topic. Consequently, you can use a tuple-space to implement a 
topic-based pub-sub system, but not the other way around. In the same 
way that searching on the Web is a small, but significance departure 
from Web-based directories, tuple-spaces are a small, but significant 
departure from message-based pub-sub systems.

Linda extensions are available for most languages. The chief 
disadvantage of using a tuple-space for creating your next service 
oriented architecture is that there's not real standard and no, as far 
as I know, public tuple spaces. This means that you have to have more 
control over the players in your SOA-based system than you would if you 
use Web services. Still, tuple-spaces have inherent advantages. Most 
conspicuous is that they ease the burden in creating fault tolerant 
systems. Tuple-spaces represent an extreme in loose coupling.

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See also: Patterns: Service - Oriented Architecture and Web Services 
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