Title page for ETD etd-06062008-170911

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lavender, Robert Gregory
URN etd-06062008-170911
Title Polymorphic types for constructing concurrent objects and layered communication protocols
Degree PhD
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
No Advisors Found
  • Communications software
Date of Defense 1993-05-05
Availability restricted

Polymorphic type abstractions are proposed for constructing concurrent objects and layered peer-to-peer communication protocols, both of which exhibit inherently asynchronous behavior. The type abstractions are shown to be both expressive and efficient in the context of a statically typed object-oriented language. Where appropriate, the utility of the type abstractions is illustrated by demonstrating their usefulness in concurrent programming using the Actor model. The results of this work have direct applicability to problems in concurrent programming, distributed systems, and communication protocol architectures.

An extensible, polymorphic type abstraction for structuring concurrent method execution in a strongly typed object-oriented language is introduced. The type abstraction is called a polymorphic lambda type. A lambda type is an abstraction for a procedure that is based in part on λ-abstraction in the λ-calculus. The lambda type is a key component of a concurrent object model that allows methods defined in a class to be instantiated as lambda objects. Lambda objects are used to represent some aspect of behavior and they represent a first-class execution environment. The first-class nature of lambda objects facilitates the construction of more powerful computational abstractions, primarily those requiring 'asynchronous interaction and concurrent execution. Through a series of refinements, lambda objects are shown to be as expressive as traditional procedures with little extra cost for call setup and invocation.

Concurrent objects require synchronization control. A type abstraction called a behavior set is introduced for specifying synchronization constraints in a strongly typed concurrent object-oriented language with Actor-style concurrency semantics. The behavior set abstraction offers a solution to structuring synchronization control that coexists with an inheritance mechanism, thereby avoiding the inheritance anomaly.

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