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GigaSpaces is the place; distributed, shared memory on tap

[FEBRUARY 25, 2003/ADT'S PROGRAMMERS REPORT] -Intel's massive booth on the Intel Developer Forum conference exhibition floor featured several Centrino-based notebooks. An Intel spokesperson at the booth told Programmers Report that the new notebooks would not hit the market with the typically high, first-release prices of machines with the very latest Intel processors, but will likely sell for around $1,500.

Israel-based GigaSpaces has begun to carve out an interesting niche in recent years as perhaps the prime commercializer of tuple space distributed computing solutions. Last fall, the company partnered with Codemesh to provide a C++ toolkit to help C++ clients read and write to the globally distributed memory space designed by GigaSpaces.

With a whole slew of Web services, cell phone services and orchestrated wireless applications under development worldwide, ''there has to be something different both in our approach to memory and manner of communications,'' said Nethanel Shalom, CTO, GigaSpaces, speaking from the company's New York offices.

The tuple approach -- first outlined in David Gelernter's 1982 Linda programming language -- allows you to create many active programs distributed over physically dispersed machines, unaware of each other's existence but still able to communicate. They do this by communicating to each other by releasing data (a tuple) into tuple space.

Sun, in its Jini and JavaSpaces programs, and IBM, with its prototype TSpace software demo, have also begun to mine the nascent field. In fact, GigaSpaces is a commercial implementation of Sun's JavaSpaces.

Now the company is going about adding useful traits to what still may be seen by some as a fairly raw technology. GigaSpaces recently added authentication, authorization and SSL encryption to Version 2.1 of the platform.

Rami Rinot, COO at GigaSpaces, told Programmers Report that the company's work grew out of an initial effort to build a reverse-bidding system for the Israeli Yellow Pages using Sun's JavaSpaces. During the course of building a proof-of-concept system, GigaSpaces came upon a useful means of implementing the distributed memory approach.

''Tuple space is a useful, simplified way to describe data structure or network structure. Data can move from one place to another without requiring net-specific implementations,'' said GigaSpaces' Shalom. The company's motto is ''The Space is the Network.''

Related stories and Links:
''Software innovator David Gelernter says the desktop is obsolete'' by Jack Vaughan, http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=7187

''Analysis: From blue suits to space suits'' By Jack Vaughan [within the story ''Is openness enough for IBM?''], http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=5028

GigaSpaces Web site: http://www.gigaspaces.com

For other Programmers Report articles, please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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