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Java used to be the hot shit on the block, like in the nineties or something… and it was the programming language of the future. Incredibly secure and robust with its own VM, and perfectly portable so everyone who’s anyone can enjoi the fruits of the Java gods. With a slew of tools and libraries to do just about anything you can imag… Well you get the idea. All of this bequeath upon the world from the generous bossom of Sun (now Oracle) for the good of all person-kind. Except that they kept the doors closed on their magic box of wonder (lets be real, that’s all the JVM really is) to protect the people from themselves.
Computing has fundamentally changed, both in how we understand it and how we perform it, and the future lies in the clouds somewhere… or our heads are in the web… err we live in a distributed world of distribution…
Soon enough the kingdom of Java will be barren and waifish and all the people of the land will flock to the prosperous lands in the distance. Here’s to the future, and getting there the fastest on chariots of fire.
So many people have recently been diving into asynchrony as hot new technologies are coming into the limelight such as Node.js, event driven programming (Twisted and EventMachine), and parallelism (of any form). This phenomenon (the asynchrony) has also been greatly accelerated by distributed networks and cloud programming since time loses some of its (traditional) meaning when your process depends on 100s and 1000s of separate and (dare I say) autonomous machines all working together.
But asynchrony and its perils are not new, and not specific to computers and networks. A funny little thing happened to me the other day: On Saturday morning my friend asked if I had any plans for the weekend and at the time I had none. Shortly thereafter another friend asked me if I wanted to have lunch on Sunday, and I had a little bit of a data race. I just told my friend I had no plans, and worried that she started planning something to do with me (possibly on Sunday) I told my other friend the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time: “I might have plans with another friend, but I am not sure, but I really want to have lunch with you, but its not that I am trying to get out of it, but maybe, but maybe not…”
I wish I could have just told her that my total order is all out of whack. So when multiple autonomous agents each have their own clocks and, while each might be perfectly ordered according to themselves, the timeline of events can exhibit anomalous behavior when the agents are not properly synchronized. Oh… my asynchronous life.
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