Flow Based Programming Crate For Rust
Provides a basic Flow Based Programming (FBP) system for Rust
In the early days of microprocessor development, Moore’s law was
achieved by increasing the number of transistors and the
frequency of the chips. The chips while becoming more powerful
with each release, were still focused on a single CPU or core.
In modern systems, the increase of performance is mostly dictated by the number of CPUs or cores on a microprocessor.
This change has lead to the need for a different type of programming model.
This model must be factored into many threads of execution to use all the processing power of these new microprocessors.
This need for splitting a system into multiple threads has been fraught with problems.
Originally, the model was to use locking of shared resources so that thread contention would not cause one thread to corrupt another thread. This model led to many problems with locks and given that most developers are not trained in disparate threads of execution, many ‘bugs’ were introduced.
Flow Based programming was designed to address the issues of multiple cores and
to do so without using or needing locks. The basic concept is that an application
is broken down to discreet blocks of work, much like an assembly line in a
manufacturing plant. Work comes to the block when an item is placed onto an input queue.
The block waits (is quiescent) until a work item is enqueued onto the input queue.
At that time, the work item is processed and then placed onto one or more blocks that have registered interest in the output of the block. This arrangement does not use locks and each block in the system only knows what other nodes are interested in its output. It has no idea what the other blocks do or how big the network of blocks are that makes up the application. As suggested previously, this mimics the layout of a manufacturing assembly line. It also allows for breaking down the functionality of a system to small understandable blocks of processing.
This crate is designed as a Flow Based Programming system. All functionality is done through a message passing system that enqueues work onto various ‘nodes’ or blocks.
This model also makes it much easier to scale a system as message passing can be done over TCP and thus distribute the application across multiple systems.
To read more about Flow Based Programming please see Wikipedia Flow Based Programming
This implementation of Flow Based Programming (FBP) is not ‘traditional’. It uses some of the built in Rust features to implement the system.
An asynchronous state change monitor
FBP Message Struct
Required data needed for all FBP Nodes
Specific Error Type for FBP nodes
FBP Node Trait
A thread safe wrapper for a type.