Wednesday, December 03, 2008

IronPython + F# + Parallel + Async = A Kittehz Brekfst

Concurrency with threading can be a tricky subject, particularly amongst the Python community.



Nick Hodge has a blog entry on using the .NET Parallel Extensions to write concurrent libraries in F#, and then using them from IronPython:
Whilst thread-safety, dead-locks, queues and other nasties are nasty, Microsoft sees the world of n-cores as a software problem to be solved, not ignored. Both at a low-level and a high-level, well constructed and debugged Parallel libraries are appearing to make the splitting of tasks easier.

IronPython implements the Python language on the DLR and subsequently on the CLR, but this does not automagically provide IronPython with threading and parallelism. Nor could I suggest that IronPython is the silver-bullet for clean parallelism with Python. Various projects such as ParallelPython (including cluster support), Stackless Python and the recent python-multiprocessing package are appearing to move CPython into today’s world of n-cores.

IronPython does have kissing-cousin languages like F#. From F#, and the Microsoft Parallel Extensions Jun08 CTP – a parallel library is a .dll away. Step 1: create a .dll from Luca’s demonstration from PDC2008 specifically the MathLibrary/StockAnalyzer. Combining both the async/parallel versions of the F# code with the single-threaded version was easy.

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