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A Model of Concurrent Computation in Distributed Systems

By Gul Agha





The transition from sequential to parallel computation is an area of critical concern in today's computer technology, particularly in architecture, programming languages, systems, and artificial intelligence. This book addresses central issues in concurrency, and by producing both a syntactic definition and a denotational model of Hewitt's actor paradigm—a model of computation specifically aimed at constructing and analyzing distributed large-scale parallel systems—it substantially advances the understanding of parallel computation.

Contents Introduction • General Design Decisions • Computation in ACTOR Systems • A More Expressive Language • A Model for ACTOR Systems • Concurrency Issues • Abstraction and Compositionality • Conclusions


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262010924 190 pp. |


$24.00 X | £18.99 ISBN: 9780262511414 190 pp. |


  • The model described is more powerful than previous ones because it provides for dynamic growth and reconfiguration, and it uses an open systems approach. This extension is essential for work in artificial intelligence and related areas where it is difficult, in typical applications to make advanced estimates of the computational resources required. The Feynman-like diagrams Agha introduces are a particularly good technique for illustrating the interactions in asynchronous, concurrent systems. They should find increasing use in serious studies of the problems accompanying parallelism. Overall, this is a seminal piece of work, carefully tied to previous research.

    John H. Holland

    University of Michigan