PDF Research Group

(Parallel and Distributed Functional Languages Research Group)

Introduction Languages Collaborations Projects Publications People Former Members Mailing List Events Contact Information


The Parallel and Distributed Functional Languages (PDF) research group is part of the Dependable Systems Group in Computer Science at the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University.

The group investigates the design, implementation and evaluation of high-level programming languages for high-performance, distributed and mobile computation. We argue that advances in wired and wireless technology have dramatically increased the connectivity between computing resources: the internet and GRID are just two examples. In contrast to classical software, such systems must not only describe the computation, or algorithm, but also the coordination, i.e. how to arrange the computations on a collection of resources and including process management, communication, synchronisation, resource location, and mobility. Moreover such systems are often open, with resources and computations joining and leaving dynamically. Current software technologies for constructing high-performance, distributed & mobile systems require explicit management of many low-level coordination aspects.

The group aims to produce notations with powerful yet high-level coordination abstractions, supported by effective implementations that enable the construction of large high-performance, distributed and mobile systems. The notations must have simple semantics and formalisms at an appropriate level of abstraction to facilitate reasoning about the coordination in real distributed/mobile systems i.e. to transform, demonstrate equivalence, or analyse the coordination properties. In summary, the challenge is to bridge the gap between distributed/mobile theories, like the pi and ambient calculi, and practice, like CORBA and the OGSA.


The group has designed, implemented, evaluated and used several high performance/distributed functional languages, and continues to do so. High performance languages include Glasgow parallel Haskell ( GpH ) and Parallel ML with skeletons ( PMLS ). Distributed/mobile languages include Glasgow distributed Haskell ( GdH ) Erlang, Hume, JoCaml and Camelot.


The group collaborates internationally with industry and academia.

Primary industrial collaborators include groups in Microsoft Research Labs (Cambridge), Motorola UK Research labs (Basingstoke), Ericsson, Agilent Technologies(South Queensferry).

Primary academic collaborators include groups in Complutense Madrid , JAIST , LMU Munich, Phillips Universitat Marburg, and St Andrews .


Projects include


Publications are available on the languages as follows.


All of the group either currently work in Heriot-Watt Computer Science, or have recently left.

Abyd Al Zain ceeatia {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Research Associate
Zezhi Chen chen {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Research Associate
Xiao Yan Deng xyd3 {a} macs.hw.ac.uk PhD Student
Gudmund Grov gudmund {a} macs.hw.ac.uk PhD Student
Chunxu Liu chunxu {a} macs.hw.ac.uk PhD Student
Graeme McHale graeme_mchale {a} agilent.com PhD Student
Greg Michaelson greg {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Professor
Jan Henry Nystrom jann {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Research Associate
Robert Pointon rpointon {a} macs.hw.ac.uk PhD Student/Research Associate
Phil Trinder trinder {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Senior Lecturer

Former Members

Hans-Wolfgang Loidl hwloidl {a} informatik.uni-muenchen.de Research Associate
Norman Scaife Norman.Scaife {a} imag.fr Postdoctoral Researcher
Mustafa Khalifa Asawd ceemka {a} macs.hw.ac.uk
Andre Rauber Du Bois dubois {a} macs.hw.ac.uk Lecturer

Mailing List

A mailing list exists to keep people informed of group activities pdf {a} macs.hw.ac.uk.


Contact Information

For further information please contact Abyd Al Zain ceeatia {a} macs.hw.ac.uk