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Functional Programming Research

The Brisk project is concerned with increasing the expressive power of functional languages so that they can be used to implement complex and reactive `systems' programs more easily. Our current aim is to develop a Haskell compiler which provides a deterministic form of concurrency, a modular approach to linking Haskell with C, dynamic linking and some other features which increase expressiveness without losing any of the mathematical purity of the language. The Brisk compiler is nearing its first serious release. We then want to investigate its applications; we have designs, and in some cases prototypes, for an X window interface, a development environment, a process manager, and a distributed programming environment.

A second strand of research is to improve support for program debugging and proof. One problem is to work out how to make best use of the purely declarative nature of functional languages. A style of logic needs to be developed which takes maximum advantage of the potential simplicity of using denotational semantics alone, without resorting to operational semantics, and which provides support for purely declarative debugging and proof. This logic then needs to be packaged in a practical system which is attractive to working programmers. The Brisk compiler may also provide a platform on which to base this research.

Staff and Research students

Ian Holyer         ian@cs.bris.ac.uk   
Neil Davies        neil@cs.bris.ac.uk   
Chris Dornan       dornan@cs.bris.ac.uk   (PhD)
Alastair Penney    penney@cs.bris.ac.uk   (PhD)
Eleni Spiliopoulou spilio@cs.bris.ac.uk   (PhD)

Pascal Serrarens   pascalrs@cs.kun.nl     (ex MSc)
Dave Carter        dpc@cat.cc.ic.ac.uk    (ex MSc)
Gareth Powell      gareth@tss.com         (ex PhD)


URLs of current interest to the group are collected together (group access only).
Some items which might be made available in due course are:

Dornan's thesis
Powell's thesis
Spiliopolou's thesis
Etypes paper


Brisk version 0.08 is available. This is a preliminary release, illustrating concurrency and (output-only) X Window System graphics programming. It lacks Haskell classes, has incomplete libraries, and has unwieldy conventions for installation and use. Please get in touch if you want to experiment with it.

Work in Progress

The Brisk Kernel Language
Deterministic Communications
Graph Structures: A monolithic implementation.
Dr. Ian Holyer, ian@cs.bris.ac.uk. Last modified on Thursday 7 January 1999 at 16:10. © 1999 University of Bristol