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January Meetup - 08.01.2013

Speaker: Nick Brown
Title: "Mesham: A type orientated programming language for
high-performance parallel codes"

Whilst there have been great advances in HPC hardware and software in
recent years, the languages and models that we use to program these
machines have remained much more static. This is not from a lack of
effort, but instead by virtue of the fact that the semantic foundation
that many programming languages are built on is not sufficient for the
level of expressivity required for parallel work. The result is an all
too familiar implicit trade off between programmability and
Type oriented programming looks to address this by encoding the
complexity of a language via the type system. Most of the language
functionality is contained within a loosely coupled type library that
can be used flexibly to control, in the case of Mesham, many aspects
of parallelism. Due to the high level nature of this approach, there
is much information available to the compiler for static optimisation
and, in the absence of type information, the compiler can apply
sensible default options thus supporting both the expert programmer
and novice alike.

I will be introducing the type oriented programming approach and the
parallel programming language, Mesham which we have written based
around this paradigm. Whilst Mesham itself is currently an imperative
programming language, the future direction of where we want to take
this approach might very well fit more comfortably in the functional
language domain and much of the developments and research done in the
functional language area I believe could complement our work.