Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell" by Simon Marlow; O'Reilly Media;

I want to start writing this, but it's been forever since I actually read this book. I'm concerned I won't be able to do it justice.

So here's the deal: I've read this book once many months ago (June?), and I've been re-reading it since. Some of the details are blurry, but the gist of the book is still with me.

Without further ado, here's the review:


Disclaimer: I'm reviewing this book under the O'Reilly Blogger Review program. (though I ended up purchasing a hard copy afterwards any way.)

This is The Book that sold me on Haskell for concurrent and parallel programming. Sure, I've read several articles on the benefits of functional languages for programming in the multi-core world, but that didn't really sink in until I saw how elegant it could be in a functional language.

In brief, the main benefits I got from reading this this book were:

* Surveyed parallel programming (in Haskell)
* Surveyed concurrent programming (in Haskell)
* Saw the elegance of the approaches for myself
* Learned about laziness gotchas in parallel contexts
* Learned a bit about what's next and left to improve
* Learned what modules to turn to and watch when in need

I hope I never have to look at OpenCL or CUDA C++ again for parallel programming. The way Repa/Accelerate handles this is beautiful.

The chapters on concurrent programming showed me how much having concurrency primitives built into a language change async programming. Having forkIO to run subsequent computations and a scheduler in the run-time make it very convenient.

In sum, I highly recommend this book. 10/10, one of my top 10 books of 2013.

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