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Re: Scheme as a Common Intermediate Language

From: Carl R. Witty
Subject: Re: Scheme as a Common Intermediate Language
Date: 23 Oct 2000 17:10:09 -0700

A common language run-time would be a very useful thing.  However, I
fear that if your goal is to support "any high-level language" within
a fairly small factor of optimality, that you're not there yet.

It seems likely that it will be difficult to compile languages that
don't fit the standard imperative model into efficient iScheme.  Have
you considered languages like Haskell and Clean (pure functional) and
Prolog and Mercury (logic)?

Your static type system is not powerful enough to handle languages
with ML-style polymorphism, let alone the more powerful extensions
that have found their way into recent Haskell implementations.  Thus,
compilers from these languages to iScheme would have to fall back to
dynamic typing, with the concomitant loss in performance.

Have you heard about Microsoft's .NET platform?  Part of .NET is a
common language run-time, using a specified bytecode language and a
just-in-time compiler.  Interestingly, there are Haskell and Mercury
implementations with .NET back-ends, although I haven't heard anything
about how fast the .NET code is compared to native-code back-ends (and
I don't know whether they use .NET static typing or dynamic typing).

Carl Witty

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