CAL: A Novel Actor Language

Joern Janneck1, Chris Chang, and Yang Zhao
(Professor Edward A. Lee)

The concept of actors was first introduced by Carl Hewitt as a means of modeling distributed knowledge-based algorithms. Actors have since then become widely used.

CAL is a small domain-specific language for writing down the functionality of actors–specifically including their ports, parameters, typing constraints, and firing rules. It is designed to be embedded in an environment providing necessary infrastructure, such as data types, operations, and function libraries. The goal is to provide a concise high-level description of actors by providing statically analyzable information about the behavior of an actor, such as production and consumption rates, to facilitate scheduling, composition, and static checking of actor networks.

Current work includes:
(1) using program transformation techniques for manipulating CAL actor specifications, and compositions of CAL actors;
(2) generating executable code from an actor description, in order to simulate or eventually implement an actor on some target platform;
(3) scheduling;
(4) compatibility checking between connected actors; and
(5) CAL language developing and changing.

1Postdoctoral Researcher

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