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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

2006 USENIX Annual Technical Conference Abstract

Pp. 129–142 of the Proceedings

Flux: A Language for Programming High-Performance Servers

Brendan Burns, Kevin Grimaldi, Alexander Kostadinov, Emery D. Berger, and Mark D. Corner, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Programming high-performance server applications is challenging: it is both complicated and error-prone to write the concurrent code required to deliver high performance and scalability. Server performance bottlenecks are difficult to identify and correct. Finally, it is difficult to predict server performance prior to deployment.

This paper presents Flux, a language that dramatically simplifies the construction of scalable high-performance server applications. Flux lets programmers compose off-the-shelf, sequential C or C++ functions into concurrent servers. Flux programs are type-checked and guaranteed to be deadlock-free. We have built a number of servers in Flux, including a web server with PHP support, an image-rendering server, a BitTorrent peer, and a game server. These Flux servers match or exceed the performance of their counterparts written entirely in C. By tracking hot paths through a running server, Flux simplifies the identification of performance bottlenecks. The Flux compiler also automatically generates discrete event simulators that accurately predict actual server performance under load and with different hardware resources.

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Last changed: 15 Sept. 2006 ch