Résumé
The actor model in computer science is a mathematical model of concurrent computation that treats an actor as the basic building block of concurrent computation. In response to a message it receives, an actor can: make local decisions, create more actors, send more messages, and determine how to respond to the next message received. Actors may modify their own private state, but can only affect each other indirectly through messaging (removing the need for lock-based synchronization). The actor model originated in 1973. It has been used both as a framework for a theoretical understanding of computation and as the theoretical basis for several practical implementations of concurrent systems. The relationship of the model to other work is discussed in actor model and process calculi. History of the Actor model According to Carl Hewitt, unlike previous models of computation, the actor model was inspired by physics, including general relativity and quantum mechanics. It was also influenced by the programming languages Lisp, Simula, early versions of Smalltalk, capability-based systems, and packet switching. Its development was "motivated by the prospect of highly parallel computing machines consisting of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of independent microprocessors, each with its own local memory and communications processor, communicating via a high-performance communications network." Since that time, the advent of massive concurrency through multi-core and manycore computer architectures has revived interest in the actor model. Following Hewitt, Bishop, and Steiger's 1973 publication, Irene Greif developed an operational semantics for the actor model as part of her doctoral research. Two years later, Henry Baker and Hewitt published a set of axiomatic laws for actor systems. Other major milestones include William Clinger's 1981 dissertation introducing a denotational semantics based on power domains and Gul Agha's 1985 dissertation which further developed a transition-based semantic model complementary to Clinger's.
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