SAM SIG: Actor Architectures for Concurrent Computation



    Title: "Actor Architectures for Concurrent Computation: Actors in general, in Scala, and in Twitter" 

    Panelists / Speakers:

    Carl Hewitt, Visiting Professor, Stanford University
    Robey Pointer, Software Engineer, Twitter
    Frank Sommers, Editor-in-Chief, Artima

    Panel Chair / Moderator:

    Bill Venners, President, Artima Software 

    Abstract: The Actors model of concurrent computation has significant advantages for conceptualizing and implementing concurrent computation.
    Carl Hewitt, along with his students credited with inventing the Actors model, will provide an overview of the Actors model starting from its origin to the present.

    Frank Sommers, co-author of an upcoming book on Scala Actors, will describe the incarnation of Actors in Scala.|
    Robey Pointer, an engineer at Twitter, will show how Actors are used at Twitter in an open source message queue called Kestrel.

    Biographical Sketches:

    Carl Hewitt is Emeritus in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He obtained his PhD in mathematics at MIT under the supervision of Seymour Papert (adviser), Marvin Minsky, and Mike Paterson. Hewitt is known for his design of Planner. This was the first programming language based on procedural plans that were invoked using pattern- directed invocation from assertions and goals. Planner was influential in the development of both logic programming and object-oriented programming. He is also known for his work on the Actor model of concurrent computation, which influenced the development of the Scheme programming language and the pi calculus, and served as an inspiration for several other programming languages. His publications also include contributions in the areas of open information systems, multi-agent systems, logic programming, concurrent programming languages, strongly paraconsistent logic, and client-cloud computing. More information (including videos) can be found on his web page at

    Robey Pointer is a member of the service engineering team at Twitter, and has over 10 years of experience writing large-scale daemons at places like Danger and iPlanet, though he is rarely seen in public since the time-traveling incident. He wrote Kestrel, an open source actor-based message queue that Twitter uses in its backend messaging infrastructure.

    Frank Sommers is editor-in-chief of Artima, and an active writer in the area of information technology and computing. His upcoming book on Scala Actors, co-authored with Philipp Haller, will be published by Artima in 2009. Frank is also founder and president of Autospaces, a company dedicated to providing collaborative software solutions to the automotive and financial services industries. In that capacity, he designed and developed a retail management system that's used by 65 auto dealerships in the US, and a financial data mining and collaboration system used by two leading automotive lenders. Prior to Autospaces, Frank was a research fellow at the University of Southern California, where he participated in a geographic information systems (GIS) project mapping the ethnic populations of the world and the diverse demography of southern California. Frank's main interests are parallel and distributed computing, data management, data mining and knowledge discovery. Frank is a member of the executive committee of the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing (TCSC), and is a Sun Java Champion.

    Bill Venners is a co-author of "Programming in Scala", with Martin Odersky (the designer of Scala) and Lex Spoon. Bill is president of Artima Software, Inc. and editor-in-chief of Artima Developer. He is author of the book, Inside the Java Virtual Machine, a programmer-oriented survey of the Java platforms architecture and internals. His popular columns in JavaWorld magazine covered Java internals, object-oriented design, and Jini. Bill has been active in the Jini Community since its inception. He led the Jini Community ServiceUI project, whose ServiceUI API became the de facto standard way to associate user interfaces to Jini services.




    Cubberley Community Center
    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
    Palo Alto, CA


    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration/Networking/Refreshments/Pizza
    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Presentations



    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members
    No charge for SDForum members
    No registration required