[Haskell-cafe] [GSoC] Plugins for GHC

Neil Mitchell ndmitchell at gmail.com
Sat Mar 22 08:15:26 EDT 2008

Hi Max,

This sounds fantastic!

My only question would be how this relates to the external Core work
that Tim has been doing. If we have this, can external core become a
plugin? If we have this, do we no longer need external Core? It seems
to say that we don't want external Core as the interface, as it won't
be stable in any way - does that mean we don't want external Core at



We certainly need a mechanism for doing

On 3/21/08, Max Bolingbroke <batterseapower at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>  I'm interested in working on a plugins system for the Glasgow Haskell
>  Compiler. The idea here is to allow third parties to add more
>  capabilities to the compiler in a way that doesn't involve messing
>  around with modifying GHC itself. Potential use cases are:
>  * Allow Haskell code to be selectively run on GPUs
>  * Idiosyncratic application-specific optimization passes
>  * And whatever clever ideas the community comes up with!
>  This project has previously been proposed as an Microsoft Research
>  internship project
>  (http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/Internships).I have a
>  preliminary wiki page with details at
>  http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/Plugins
>  I'd particularly like to get feedback from the list on:
>  * Other design goals people would like to see
>  * Improvements to the proposed (very half-baked!) user interface
>  * Other hooks people think they might like to have into the compiler
>  * Interested mentors. Simon PJ has indicated he would be interested in
>  mentoring this, but there might be other projects that need him more?
>  This project would satisfy a dependency that Manuel mentioned in
>  http://groups.google.com/group/fa.haskell/msg/3ca260fb075a901e to
>  implement an "array DSL" for GPUs in Haskell. It would mean GHC taking
>  a dependency on hs-plugins
>  (http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~dons/hs-plugins/), as that's our current
>  strategy to allow GHC to dynamically link with the plugins.
>  A little about my experience with GHC: this year I worked on
>  implementing comprehensive comprehensions
>  (http://research.microsoft.com/~simonpj/papers/list-comp/index.htm) as
>  my final year undergraduate project, supervised by Simon PJ. I have
>  subsequently implemented a few other patches, adding some core-level
>  optimizations / bug fixes (some of which are pending review).
>  Thanks in advance for your comments!
>  Max
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