(Additional similarity: Forth, like Erlang frowns upon having lots of variables so data is carried as functions/parameters (Erlang) or the words/stack (Forth).)
Now, if you throw an ARM + Linux + Erlang (http://www.erlang-embedded.com/) at my sensor base station, what do you get? (If Erlang doesn't really work well on the ARM, replace it with your favorite language plus lots of processes/threads. Also, keep in mind that my sensor base station needs to run for days on battery backup.)
Now, let's pick an ARM/Linux system for comparison: How about the beagleboard bone?
This $89 beauty looks really appealing. I could see using it as my base station. It is based on a new Cortex A8 and is feature rich for its size.
I can't compare (yet) how well it would do against a GA144. The GA144 certainly looks anemic compared to it (from just the Cortex A8 perspective).
However, I can take a quick look at power:
- The Beagleboard bone consumes 170mA@5VDC with the Linux kernel idling and 250mA@5VDC peak during kernel boot. (from pages 28-29 of http://beagleboard.org/static/BONESRM_latest.pdf )
- The GA144 consumes 7uA@1.8VDC (typical) with all nodes idling and 540mA@1.8VDC (typical) with all nodes running. (from the G144A12 Chip Reference).
Of course, you can't directly compare the two, but consider this interesting tidbit: The power performance of the GA144 is directly related to how many nodes you run.
I haven't looked at any performance numbers between the two, but I'll wager that the Cortex A8 ultimately outperforms the GA144. But, my sensor base station is neither CPU bound (no complex calculations) nor RAM bound (important data points are persisted in flash storage and fetched as needed).
The real question is: How much useful work can I get done in 1 node?