Browse Definitions:
Definition

Erlang programming language

Contributor(s): Ulf Wiger

Also see erlang , a unit of telephone traffic.

Erlang is a programming language designed for developing robust systems of programs that can be distributed among different computers in a network. Named for the Danish mathematician Agner Krarup Erlang, the language was developed by the Ericsson Computer Sciences Lab to build software for its own telecommunication products. In use for a number of years at Ericsson and other companies, Erlang is taught in over 80 universities and colleges world-wide and is freely available as Open Source code.

Erlang is similar to Java in that it uses a virtual machine and supports multithreading . However, whereas the Java development community focuses on Web applications, Erlang is aimed at the market for extremely robust servers and embedded systems.

Erlang is described as a functional programming language, meaning that it emphasizes the evaluation of expressions rather than the execution of commands. The expressions use functions to derive basic values. (Two other well-known programming models are procedural and object-oriented .)

Here are some features of Erlang:

  • Because the location of program threads can be either explicitly specified or invisible to the program, a program can easily be distributed and run at any point in a network.
  • Erlang provides dynamic data type s, allowing programmers to develop system components (such as message dispatchers) that do not care what type of data they are handling and others that strongly enforce data type restrictions or that decide how to act based on the type of data they receive.
  • Pattern matching allows for extremely compact and clear programs (about 5-10 times shorter than equivalent programs in C or Java ).
  • Like Java, Erlang provides garbage collecting ; programmers do not have to worry about returning allocated memory space.
  • Upgrades to the Erlang software don't require stopping the system.
  • Interfaces to other programming languages, such as C, C++ and Java, are provided.
  • Erlang comes with design patterns or templates for client-server design, state machines, event distribution, and thread supervision.
  • Erlang provides a framework that supports distribution of programs across a pool of servers, with automatic recovery and redistribution whenever a server fails.
  • It also includes powerful components for a network system, including an HTTP server, a Simple Network Management Protocol ( SNMP ) agent, a Common Object Request Broker Architecture ( CORBA ) interface, an OAM subsystem, and a fully distributed database engine.
  • Erlang's bytecode is identical on all platforms, and a network of Erlang nodes may consist of any mix of NT, UNIX, or other supported platforms.
  • Erlang is relatively easy to learn compared to C, C++, and Java.

The proponents of Erlang claim that it is superior to Java when developing back-end systems that require: fault tolerance, distributed processing, a large amount of concurrent activity, real time response times in milliseconds, and non-stop operation.

This was last updated in September 2007

Continue Reading About Erlang programming language

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    The Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, is a symmetric block cipher used by the U.S. government to protect classified ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • ZFS

    ZFS is a local file system and logical volume manager created by Sun Microsystems to control the placement, storage and retrieval...

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close