Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The PLT Scheme Operating System

Back in the day, programming languages were considered a systems concern. These days a lot of PL research is done in a vacuum, with abstract models and stand-alone prototypes. But programming languages rise and fall by their applications, and the deployment of a language always involves interesting and non-trivial systems challenges.

The PLT group has done a ton of work in this area. A decade ago, Matthew, Robby, Shriram and Matthias wrote an ICFP paper on Programming Languages as Operating Systems, sketching a few of the highlights of the PLT virtual machine. They focused on MrEd, the GUI engine. But taking a step back, there are many more systems-y facilities in PLT Scheme than just the UI infrastructure. And of course, that paper is a decade old and beginning to show its age.

I'm planning to write a series of posts on some of the myriad systems facilities in PLT Scheme and how they fit together.


grant rettke said...

That sounds great.

Ben Simon said...

You've definitely got my attention - can't wait to see what you have to say on the topic.