Future values via multi-threading

Future values

A previous post described future values (or simply “futures”), which are values depend on information from the future, e.g., from the real world. There I gave a simple denotational semantics for future values as time/value pairs. This post describes the multi-threaded implementation of futures in Reactive‘s Data.Reactive module.

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Future values

A future value (or simply “future”) is a value that might not be knowable until a later time, such as “the value of the next key you press”, or “the value of LambdaPix stock at noon next Monday” (both from the time you first read this sentence), or “how many tries it will take me to blow out all the candles on my next birthday cake”. Unlike an imperative computation, each future has a unique value — although you probably cannot yet know what that value is. I’ve implemented this notion of futures as part of a library Reactive.

Edits:

  • 2008-04-04: tweaked tag; removed first section heading.

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A type for partial values

In simplifying my Eros implementation, I came across a use for a type that represents partial information about values. I came up with a very simple implementation, though perhaps not quite ideal. In this post, I’ll present the interface and invite ideas for implementation. In the next post, I’ll give the implementation I use.

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