The Programmers' Playground: I/O Abstraction for Heterogeneous Distributed Systems

Kenneth J. Goldman, Washington University in St Louis
Michael D. Anderson, Washington University in St Louis


A new high-level approach to interprocess communication in heterogeneous distributed systems in introduced, This approach, called I/O Abstraction, allows one to write each functional component of a distributed system as an encapsulated program that acts upon a set of local data structures, some of which may be published for external use. The functional components are separately configured by establishing logical connections among the published data structures. In order to illustrate this approach, we describe the The Programmers' Playground, a high-level language "veneer" and protocol designed to support I/O abstraction in heterogeneous computing environment. Support for communciation among programs written in multiple programming languages, protection of data and applications, and the uniform treatment of discrete and continuous data types for multimedia applications are discussed.