[Haskell] [ANNOUNCE] yhc - York Haskell Compiler

Colin Runciman colin at cs.york.ac.uk
Mon Nov 14 06:51:44 EST 2005

Thomas Davie wrote:

>> I haven't played around with nhc98 yet, but I was intrigued by its
>> small size and its (modestly-sized and simple) bytecoded
>> implementation. Should I now be more interested in Yhc instead? ;-)
> As far as the YHC team is concerned, yes... As far as the nhc team  
> is... I'm not sure, perhaps Malcolm or Colin would be kind enough to  
> tell us.

I think the implied division here is an artificial one.

Tom Shackell's work on a new back-end for nhc98 is a welcome development 
and looks very promising.  It is a good idea to pursue a more portable 
and compact bytecode. Also, the back-end of the currently distributed 
nhc98 has hosted several experiments in memory management, profiling, 
tracing etc so stripping back to a more minimal run-time system is also 

However, the new back-end is still under development.  It does not yet 
support everything that the current nhc98 back-end does.  So in the 
short term, I'd still recommend application developers to use the 
standard nhc98 distribution if it runs on their computing platform.

In the medium-to-long term, it makes little sense to dissipate the 
efforts of a small number of York Haskell people by trying to maintain 
two distinct compilers with a common root.  When the new back-end is 
tried and tested, with the addition of profiling and tracing*, I hope it 
will become part of the nhc98 mainstream.

As for the name: Malcolm has been maintaining and distributing first 
nhc, then nhc98, from York for several years, and by now it has a lot 
of  York-written code in it; but we kept the name nhc by way of 
acknowledgement to Niklas R\"{o}jemo, the original author, who brought 
nhc to York when he was a post-doc here in the mid '90s.

Colin R (and Malcolm W)

* Part of Tom's motivation for the new back-end is a nice implementation 
of his Hat G-machine for tracing.

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