Brian Troutwine

Low-level systems engineer on the Dropbox Performance team. Has thoughts about spacecraft.

Brian L. Troutwine is a software engineer with a focus on low-level and fault-tolerant systems. Brian also has thoughts about mega-engineering projects, both historical and theoretical.

Past Activities

Brian Troutwine
Code BEAM SF 2019
28 Feb 2019
15.30 - 15.55

Fantastic voyage III: Destination BEAM

In 2017, Brian gave a keynote titled Piecemeal Into Space: Reliability, Safety and Erlang Principles. In that talk he discussed the high-level semantic model of Erlang, a slightly more concrete abstract representation of processes and their interaction with the schedulers and extrapolated this out into application to spacecraft systems.

In this talk, we'll go deeper, discussing the concrete implementation of core Erlang concepts as reflected in the BEAM: the message process queue, the layout of a process and the structure the BEAM uses to associate names and PIDs.


At the end of this talk, the audience will have an understanding of how the BEAM's abstraction maps to its C implementation, and from there to hardware reality.

The audience should understand how the BEAM is laid out and feel a touch more confident in doing deep-dives themselves.


Folks with a background in BEAM's abstract model. Knowing a little C won't hurt.