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[epsilon-devel] What has been going on

From: Luca Saiu
Subject: [epsilon-devel] What has been going on
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 01:38:11 +0100
User-agent: Gnus (Gnus v5.13), GNU Emacs, x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu

It has been some time since the last update.  Since not many people
beyond my personal friends know what has been going on with epsilon, I
am posting this update.

A couple of years back I was looking for ways to optimize epsilon's
interpretation speed.  My initial attempt was a very typical
threaded-code VM, which yielded modest results; I remember a speedup
factor of 4 to 6.  Thinking I could do better I read and reread research
papers, and played with ideas of my own.  It was almost exactly two
years ago that I showed for the first time the prototype which developed
into the current project to anybody else.  It was my good friend José
Marchesi, who was lodging at my same hotel in Bruxelles for FOSDEM.

This attempt of writing one very fast language virtual machine became
more ambitious and blossomed into an independent project, that I have
since presented to the public at GHM 2017.  The project is called
Jitter, and is my main focus these days.  Of course I will use it for
epsilon, but Jitter has become interesting and useful on its own as
well, and I plan to propose it soon to the GNU Project as an independent

I will not write an introduction here.  Jitter is a generator of very
fast language virtual machines, and let this be enough.  Jitter has its
own preliminary web page at http://ageinghacker.net/projects/jitter ,
linking to the source code and more information including a recording of
my long GHM talk, which still works well as a first introduction despite
the numerous improvements since 2017.

Even if it is not officially released yet José is already using Jitter
for a new project of his, and we have spent more than a few nights and
weekends over IRC discussing about it, with José sending me bug reports
and some very useful suggestions.  And why not moving such discussions
to the public?  And so, here I am.  As Jitter will be used in epsilon I
consider discussions about Jitter on-topic on this list.

Any interested outsider is welcome to join the discussion.  I will make
a reasonable effort to answer questions, even if this is not a tutorial
and some context from previous private exchanges may be left implicit.

I am interested in feedback.


Luca Saiu
* GNU epsilon:           http://www.gnu.org/software/epsilon
* My personal web site:  http://ageinghacker.net

I support everyone's freedom of mocking any opinion or belief, no
matter how deeply held, with open disrespect and the same unrelented
enthusiasm of a toddler who has just learned the word "poo".

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