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Plasma Programming Language

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Plasma Language

a new programming language

Plasma is a new programming language for safe and efficent general purpose use. It is a statically typed, side-effect free single assignment language and will have functional programming and concurrent programming features. It will support deterministic parallel execution. For a general overview, please visit It is in early development.

It is free software, Copyright (C) 2015-2021 The Plasma Team, distributed mostly under the MIT license, see LICENSE for details.


Github and ICE

It came to light in 2019 that Github have a contract with ICE, the US government department responsible for separating families and torturing children who have the misfortune to try to enter the USA.

Github, you can (and should) do better and I (Paul Bone) will never be using any paid features while you contract with ICE.

Getting started

This contains some quick info for getting started. For more complete info please see our getting started guide.


You will need:

  • A C compiler (C99 on a POSIX.1-2008 environment), I've been testing with GCC. Clang should also work.
  • GNU Make
  • Mercury. The latest stable version is required, older versions may also work. Plasma's CI currently tests with ROTD 2020-05-31.
  • Asciidoc
  • The ninja build system, at least version 1.10.

Mercury installation

The easiest way to install Mercury is to install the .deb packages (on Debian, Ubuntu, etc).

Otherwise download Mercury's source pakcage and follow the installation instructions in the INSTALL file. We've made some notes about grades that may help with choosing which grades you may need. There is also a README.bootstrap file with Mercury bootstrapping information if you wish to do that, it may also provide some additional explaination.


and edit it to make any build configuration changes you need.


in the root directory to build the project.

You should get:

  • src/plzc - The plasma compiler, compiles plasma (
    ) files to plasma modules (
  • src/plzlnk - The plasma linker, links one more more modules (
    ) into a plasma program (
  • src/plzbuild - The plasma build system
  • runtime/plzrun - The runtime system, executes plasma programs (
  • src/plzasm - The plasma bytecode assembler. This compiles textual bytecode (
    ) to bytecode (
    ). It is useful for testing the runtime.

There are example plasma programs in

. Running
will execute these programs as part of the test suite to ensure that things are working correctly.

By setting PREFIX in
and typing
make install
you can install the Plasma system.


  • docs - Documentation
  • examples - Example Plasma programs
  • runtime - Runtime system (C code)
  • scripts - Some scripts to aid developers
  • src - The compiler and other tools
  • tests - The test suite (in addition to some of the files in examples)


Please see and For detailed information including what to work on please see Contributing to Plasma in our documentation.

Getting help

If you're stuck and the Documentation doesn't contain the answer or clue you need or you're struggling to find it. Please ask for help. The Contact page of the website lists all the ways you can get in touch. In particular the Plasma Help mailing list and IRC channel are the best resources for help.

For bugs or missing information please file a bug.

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