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The Floyd programming language

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WHAT: General-purpose programming language with a unique take on programming and performance.


STATUS: Alpha 2. All the basics of the language are finished and robust. Runs natively using LLVM JIT backend (passes all tests, but not optimised). A byte code interpreter is also available. Production ready for smaller programs.

THIS REPO: This Github repository holds the compiler, the bytecode interpreter and documentation.

NEXT: 1) first generation of Injector (optimiser), 2) Flesh out language, approx 15% more features, 3) Graphical tools



Floyd is a general-purpose programming language designed for making very large and robust programs that run really fast, while ducking many of the problems of older languages. Floyd wants to become a better choice than C++, Rust, C#, Python and Javascript for any project.

The goal is to make a programming language that:

  • Executes faster than the same programming written in C or C++ (with the same skills & time) - it should become the preferred language to write a video game engine with, for example

  • Makes it fast and simple to program - less accidental complexity

  • Helps you make big programs that are fun and straight forward to work on for a long time

  • Simple built-in support for concurrency and parallelism

How can this level of execution speed be reached? By designing Floyd to give exceptional freedom to the compiler and runtime to drastically control the mapping of the program's execution to the hardware. The programmer supervises this mapping interactively using a profiler-like tool. This is done separately from writing the program logic. Precise selection of data structures, exact memory layouts, data packing, hot-cold data, hardware caches, thread tasks priorities, thread affinity and so on.

Floyd separates your program into three separate concerns:

  1. Writing the program logic
  2. Programming internal concurrent processes and how they access the outside world
  3. Mapping the program to the CPU and memory system

Floyd compilers and tools are written in C++ 17 and compiles with Clang and GCC.


Floyd looks like Javascript and has a lot fewer features, syntax and quirks than most languages. Floyd is statically typed with type inference. It's got built in types for vectors, dictionaries, JSON, a struct type and strings. All values are immutable / persistent data structures using HAMT and other techniques.

NOTICE: The manual is full of examples in text form: Floyd Manual.

It's a mashup of imperative, functional and OOP. Functions defaults to pure (but with normal local variables).

Floyd has no classes, no pointers / references, no tracing GC (uses copying and RC), no threads, mutexes, atomics and no header files. No Closures. No generics.

Roadmap: protocol type for simple polymorphism, basic encapsulation feature, sum-type and limited lambdas.


Processing and concurrency is done using Floyd's virtual processes and message passing. Each Floyd process has its own private state and is sandboxed. Floyd processes can interact with the world, calling OS APIs and accessing files. Keep this code small, with minimal logic.

The bulk of your program should be blue code - pure code.


(Implementation in progress)

Safe parallelism is built in using map() reduce() filter() and map_dag(). Like shaders running on a GPU. They share an internal OS thread team with the Floyd processes.


Floyd compiles to optimised native x86 and x64 machine code, using an LLVM-based backend. This is the same backend Xcode uses for Swift, C and C++.

Floyd also has a byte code compiler & interpreter. It is useful for embedding / scripting using Floyd but also for making tools for Floyd.


(Implementation in progress)

You optimise your program by running it and augmenting your Floyd processes and their function call graph. Each process has its own optimisation settings. This automatically generates new optimized versions of affected functions. This cannot introduce defects! Examples:

  • Change memory layout of structs, order, split, merge, array-of-structs vs struct-of-arrays.
  • Select backend for collections: a dictionary can be an array with binary search, a HAMT, a hash table or a red-black tree - all with different performance tradeoffs.
  • Control thread priority, affinity, how many threads to use for the parallelization features.
  • Insert read or write caches, introduce batching.


There is no compiled distribution of Floyd yet. You need to clone the github repository and build yourself.


  1. Clone the Floyd repository from Github. Use the master branch

  2. Install the Homebrew package manager, if you don't already have it.

  3. In your terminal, run "brew install [email protected]" -- this installs the LLVM library on your Mac. It's installed in "/usr/local/Cellar/llvm/8.0.0_1" - so it won't conflict with Xcode or other versions of LLVM.

  4. Open the Floyd xcode project: Floyd/dev/floyd.xcodeproj

  5. Make sure the current xcode scheme is "unit tests". Select from the top-left popup menu, looking like a stop-button.

  6. Select menu Product/Run

    This builds the project and runs the unit tests. Output in the Xcode console.

Building with arch linux
  1. Install llvm, sudo pacman -Sy llvm

  2. cd floyd/dev/floyd

  3. mkdir build;cd build

  4. cmake ..

  5. make

Builing quicker with ninja.
  1. sudo pacman -Sy ninja

1-3. as above

  1. cmake .. -G Ninja

  2. ninja

UNIX (ubuntu)

  1. Install llvm, sudo apt-get install -qq cmake llvm-8-dev

  2. cd floyd/dev/floyd

  3. mkdir build;cd build

  4. cmake ..

  5. make

UNIX (generic)

This procedure is not tested, but is a good starting point

  1. In a directory parrallell to where floyd, was checked out do

  2. git clone

  3. cd vcpkg

  4. ./

  5. ./vcpkg install llvm

  6. Modify CMakelists.txt to find llvm libaraies in ../vcpkg/packages

  7. cd floyd/dev/floyd; mkdir build; cd build ; cmake .. ; make


The easy way

Enable the windows subsystem for linux on Windows 10, As admin in power shell,

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
Install i.e. arch linux

Then follow the instructions above.

The hard way

This describes how to compile for Visual Studio Code 2019

Note that it is also possible to install vcpkg to other location. Then you have to set the environment variable VCPKG_ROOT. Go to control panel -> system -> environment variables NOTE that the path have to be short to make i.e. QT Happy, i.e. D:\vcpkg This also works, Windows+R rundll32.exe sysdm.cpl,EditEnvironmentVariables

If you do not set this the CMAkeLists.txt expects vcpkg in a parallell directory set (VCPKGROOT "${CMAKESOURCE_DIR}/../../../vcpkg/")

It is also possible to open CMakefiles directly within visual studio, Currently the code does not compile correctly.

  1. In a directory parrallell to where floyd, was checked out do

  2. git clone

  3. cd vcpkg

  4. ./bootstrap-vcpkg.bat

  5. ./vcpkg.exe install llvm:x64-windows ./vcpkg.exe install readline:x64-windows ./vcpkg.exe install pthreads:x64-windows ./vcpkg.exe install dirent:x64-windows Note that building llvm takes a very long time to build > 4 hours on a slower machine

  6. Run cmake from put the build files in a dir in a directory parallell to the rest, it should look like this,

    ls floyd vcpkg build

  7. Compile


The essentials of Floyd are up and running and very robust (more than 1000 tests), including the concurrent Floyd processes. The manual is complete but needs polish.

A handful features are needed for a satisfying 1.0: rounding out the language features somewhat and then it's all about performance.


|Item | Feature
|:--- |:--- | Floyd Manual | Programming language manual | Floyd compiler | Compiles Floyd source code | Floyd LLVM backend | Optimises your Floyd program and generates native code x86 / x64 code | Floyd byte code compiler & interpreter | Runs your program in the byte code interpeter

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