The concurrency crisis is upon us: Moore's Law will continue only if we learn to write parallel programs. This is important enough you might expect it to show up in the mainstream press, and at last it is. From the 2 June 2011 issue of the Economist:
Meanwhile, a group of obscure programming languages used in academia seems to be making slow but steady progress, crunching large amounts of data in industrial applications and behind the scenes at large websites. Two examples are Erlang and Haskell, both of which are “functional programming” languages.
Such languages are based on a highly mathematical programming style (based on the evaluation of functions) that is very different from traditional, “imperative” languages (based on a series of commands). This puts many programmers off. But functional languages turn out to be very well suited to parallel programming. Erlang was originally developed by Ericsson for use in telecoms equipment, and the language has since been adopted elsewhere: it powers Facebook’s chat feature, for example. Another novel language is Scala, which aims to combine the best of both functional and traditional languages. It is used to run the Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare websites, among others.