Which scripting languages support multi-core programming?

I have written a little python application and here you can see how Task Manager looks during a typical run. (source: weinzierl.name)

While the application is perfectly multithreaded, unsurprisingly it uses only one CPU core. Regardless of the fact that most modern scripting languages support multithreading, scripts can run on one CPU core only.

Ruby, Python, Lua, PHP all can only run on a single core. Even Erlang, which is said to be especially good for concurrent programming, is affected.

Is there a scripting language that has built in support for threads that are not confined to a single core?


Answers were not quite what I expected, but the TCL answer comes close. I'd like to add perl, which (much like TCL) has interpreter-based threads.

Jython, IronPython and Groovy fall under the umbrella of combining a proven language with the proven virtual machine of another language. Thanks for your hints in this direction.

I chose Aiden Bell's answer as Accepted Answer. He does not suggest a particular language but his remark was most insightful to me.


Thread syntax may be static, but implementation across operating systems and virtual machines may change

Your scripting language may use true threading on one OS and fake-threads on another.

If you have performance requirements, it might be worth looking to ensure that the scripted threads fall through to the most beneficial layer in the OS. Userspace threads will be faster, but for largely blocking thread activity kernel threads will be better.

You seem use a definition of "scripting language" that may raise a few eyebrows, and I don't know what that implies about your other requirements.

Anyway, have you considered TCL? It will do what you want, I believe.

Since you are including fairly general purpose languages in your list, I don't know how heavy an implementation is acceptable to you. I'd be surprised if one of the zillion Scheme implementations doesn't to native threads, but off the top of my head, I can only remember the MzScheme used to but I seem to remember support was dropped. Certainly some of the Common LISP implementations do this well. If Embeddable Common Lisp (ECL) does, it might work for you. I don't use it though so I'm not sure what the state of it's threading support is, and this may of course depend on platform.

Update Also, if I recall correctly, GHC Haskell doesn't do quite what you are asking, but may do effectively what you want since, again, as I recall, it will spin of a native thread per core or so and then run its threads across those....

You can freely multi-thread with the Python language in implementations such as Jython (on the JVM, as @Reginaldo mention Groovy is) and IronPython (on .NET). For the classical CPython implementation of the Python language, as @Dan's comment mentions, multiprocessing (rather than threading) is the way to freely use as many cores as you have available

As Groovy is based on the Java virtual machine, you get support for true threads.

F# on .NET 4 has excellent support for parallel programming and extremely good performance as well as support for .fsx files that are specifically designed for scripting. I do all my scripting using F#.

An answer for this question has already been accepted, but just to add that besides tcl, the only other interpreted scripting language that I know of that supports multithreading and thread-safe programming is Qore.

Qore was designed from the bottom up to support multithreading; every aspect of the language is thread-safe; the language was designed to support SMP scalability and multithreading natively. For example, you can use the background operator to start a new thread or the ThreadPool class to manage a pool of threads. Qore will also throw exceptions with common thread errors so that threading errors (like potential deadlocks or errors with threading APIs like trying to grab a lock that's already held by the current thread) are immediately visible to the programmer.

Qore additionally supports and thread resources; for example, a DatasourcePool allocation is treated as a thread-local resource; if you forget to commit or roll back a transaction before you end your thread, the thread resource handling for the DatasourcePool class will roll back the transaction automatically and throw an exception with user-friendly information about the problem and how it was solved.

Maybe it could be useful for you - an overview of Qore's features is here: Why use Qore?.

CSScript in combination with Parallel Extensions shouldn't be a bad option. You write your code in pure C# and then run it as a script.

It is not related to the threading mechanism. The problem is that (for example in python) you have to get interpreter instance to run the script. To acquire the interpreter you have to lock it as it is going to keep the reference count and etc and need to avoid concurrent access to this objects. Python uses pthread and they are real threads but when you are working with python objects just one thread is running an others waiting. They call this GIL (Global Interpreter Lock) and it is the main problem that makes real parallelism impossible inside a process.


The other scripting languages may have kind of the same problem.

Guile supports POSIX threads which I believe are hardware threads.

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