The people behind Eiffel
Raphaël Manfredi is currently a Software Engineer at Hewlett-Packard in France. He has a Computer Science Degree from the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne as well as an Image Synthesis & Processing Degree.
Born in 1968, Raphaël Manfredi joined ISE in March 1991, where he architected and implemented the basis for the new runtime for ISE Eiffel 3, then under development to replace ISE's earlier Eiffel technology. He developed in particular:
The memory allocation mechanism.
The garbage collector (algorithms mixing mark & sweep, compaction and generation scavenging).
An obscure but crucial component called HECTOR.
The exception handling mechanism.
Since the run-time is tightly coupled to the way Eiffel objects are handled by the final executable, the new architecture of ISE Eiffel 3 led him also to design the C code generation model, in particular the handling of local variables (since the garbage collector must know about them) and the exception handling support (to be able to produce nice exception traces).
Raphaël Manfredi also helped in the definition of the Eiffel bytecode and implemented the first Eiffel bytecode virtual machine (the interpreter).
In March 1993, when the ISE Eiffel 3 run-time and compiler backend were "functionally complete" and already well integrated (the compiler having been already used to compile itself for several months), he returned to France to join the Operating System Department of the Advanced Computer Research Institute (ACRI), a start-up company created by Jacques Stern, former Bull CEO, to build a large superscalar computer based on a decoupled architecture. The Department's task was to port the DEC OSF/1 operating system to the ACRI architecture, using a CPU emulator on a DEC Alpha workstation. Raphaël started by rewriting the lower kernel parts, the ones most exposed to the new architecture; he then ported the dynamic loader and adapted such features as exec, setjmp and longjmp.
ACRI never released anything. After successfully building the first prototype, it went out of business due to lack of cash, French regulations being very strict on such matters. The life of ACRI ended on March 3, 1995, and Raphaël worked till the last day.
As a contractor for Hewlett-Packard in Grenoble from March 1995, Raphaël worked on optimizing a third-party telecom application, gaining an order of magnitude in the amount of sustained transactions per seconds. This success led to his hiring by HP in January of 1996. He is currently heading a team of engineers as architect to continue to improve his kernel development tools and implement new ideas to reduce development costs and improve HP's software quality. He also teaches Operating Sytems part-time at the Ecole des Mines, in Saint-Etienne, as part of his job.
Raphaël Manfredi is also the author of mailagent, a freely available e-mail filtering packge for Unix. He has his own contribution directory on CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. Most of his contributions can be found under his personal directory CPAN/authors/Raphael_Manfredi.
From his work on ISE Eiffel Raphael retains the conviction that the Eiffel approach is a great solution to produce and package quality reusable components.
Raphaël Manfredi can be reached at: Raphael_Manfredi@hp.com.