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Functional Programming: A PragPub Anthology by Michael Swaine

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The Actor Model

The actor model of concurrency is actually fairly old. It probably dates back to a couple of hundred thousand years ago, when humans first started communicating and remembering things. Fred would ask Wilma if she’d seen Barney, and Wilma would respond back to Fred, but only after she’d first told Bamm-Bamm to stop teasing Dino.

The essence of the actor model is just that—independent, asynchronous actors that communicate only by sending each other messages. The word only is significant—there is no state shared between actors.

Step forward to the mid 1970s, and Carl Hewitt proposed[6] actors as a model of computation. In his mind, actors weren’t simply a means of achieving concurrency. They were instead a fundamental building ...

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