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Subject: Re: [boost] [review] Dataflow Library
From: Michael Caisse (boost_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-09-06 19:03:45

Phil Endecott wrote:


> It may be significant that systems like LabView and MAX have not
> escaped from their niche application areas. "Real programmers prefer
> text" perhaps. Note that over the last couple of decades, chip design
> has almost entirely moved from GUI input (schematic capture) to
> textual input (hardware description languages).
> And while thinking about hardware description languages, note also
> that they don't expose any sort of dataflow model even though the
> underlying circuit often has that sort of structure. Similarly, when
> people were building "dataflow computers" back in the '80s they wrote
> compilers that hid the dataflow nature of the hardware behind a more
> conventional programming language (e.g. SISAL).
I don't think I understand. Verilog supports dataflow modeling and for anything
non-trivial is the main mode of modeling. What am I missing?

> The closest to what you're proposing that I have seen is the stuff
> that the GNU Radio project is doing; I mentioned them on this list
> once before. (They have been in the news recently after operating a
> GSM base station using their software radio at Burning Man.) It would
> be really helpful if you could perhaps try to re-implement some of
> their stuff using your library, and see how it compares in terms of
> ease of coding, performance etc. You could ask them to compare it
> themselves and submit reviews here.
> I think you really need to justify to us why this library is useful,
> and to whom.
I think questioning a library's audience and usefulness is a requirement but I am
surprised at the number of people who don't see how/why dynamic dataflow is useful.
Are you questioning the value of dataflow modeling or this specific library?

I use a dataflow framework that is driven from XML description files. The framework
utilizes dynamically loaded components as Stjepan has described in an earlier post.
The framework has been deployed in applications ranging from digital video/audio
systems to aviation flight/meteorology equipment in international airports.

I hope to have an opportunity to review the Dataflow library.

Michael Caisse
Object Modeling Designs

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