[chuck-users] Chuck Concurrency Best Practices

mike clemow gelfmuse at gmail.com
Fri Aug 29 19:01:18 EDT 2008

Hi everyone,

So, I've been struggling to find a method to leverage the concurrency model
in Chuck and I keep running up against the same issue: my guts tell me to do
things that I can't do because of fact that child processes are alive only
as long as the parent and the fact that objects are only passed by

Let me unpack this for you.  I'm building a granular synthesis class library
for Chuck.  Most everything is being cast as one of two types of objects:

1) Forkable - a process that takes parameters and can be run or sporked
2) Forker - an object that knows how run a process and will fork it out for

In order to get over the fact that functions are not (yet) datatypes in
Chuck which can be passed to other functions, I'm basically following the
example that Kassen, Mike, et al. were discussing in this forum topic:


My problems always seem to rise from the fact that every Forker (whose job
it is to fork a process) also has to be aware of how long that process is
going to take or else run the risk of dying before it's child has
completed.  This leads to infinite passing of responsibility for time and
every Forker seems to also need to be a Forkable and have it's own Forker,
et cetera ad inifinitum.  At higher and higher levels of abstraction,
finding the duration of a process BEFORE it runs and figuring out how to
handle it, is requiring more and more analysis and feels...  for lack of a
better word, "wrong" to me.

This is compounded by the fact that the objects I'm passing into these
functions (methods of other objects) can only be passed by reference and
it's increasingly difficult to set-and-forget these processes, since they
constantly reference other global objects.  The passing by reference is
fine, but I find myself wishing I had the choice to make a copy.

Now, it's entirely probable that I just haven't caught on yet and am going
about this process in a completely backward way.  Does anyone here run into
similar issues and (even better) have good methods of avoiding them?

One idea I have considered is to make a Forker a looping process that
receives Events as input, rather than an object with methods.  As this would
require a(nother) complete re-write, I'm stalling.  ;-)

So, how do you manage your concurrent processes in Chuck?


PS: Love dynamic Arrays!  Can't wait for those SC/Smalltalk-like array

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