http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlang_%28programming_language%29"" target="_new" rel="nofollow">Erlang is a programming language based on functional programming paradigm. I don't think it is a platform like the JVM of .NET where you could compile and run multiple binaries created using different programming languages. I have never used Erlang though, but I have been doing lots of Scala and I can say that writing functional code implicitly takes advantage of multi cores and hence results in better performing applications.
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Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
Erlang is a language and a VM, and a platform specifically called Erlang/OTP (Open Telecom Platform). The Erlang VM is analogous to the Java VM on the surface and there are other languages that compile down to run on the VM (Elixir, Lisp Flavored Erlang). There's even Ling, a way to run your erlang apps natively on Xen hypervisors (http://erlangonxen.org) without an underlying OS.
Erlang is a soft-realtime system, provides the ability to do hot-code-swapping, native cross-node communication or clustering, and has a focus on high-availability. Here's the marketing blurb from the Erlang website:
"Erlang is a programming language used to build massively scalable soft real-time systems with requirements on high availability. Some of its uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang's runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance."
It is platform independent like Java, you run your compiled erlang apps on the VM and the VM is available for Windows, *NIX, OS X, etc.