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Plasma Language

a new programming language

Plasma is a new programming language for safe and efficient 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) 2015-2022 The Plasma Team, distributed mostly under the MIT license, see LICENSE for details.


Getting started

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


Plasma has been tested on Linux, Windows subsystem for Linux 1 and 2 on x86_64.

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 and source-highlight
  • 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 package 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.


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

Use make in the root directory to build the project. Then make install`` to install the tools into $PREFIX/bin```.

This compiles and installs the following programs. Make sure they're in your PATH.

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

There are example plasma programs in examples/. Running plzbuild in examples/ will build them. Each program's bytecode is copied to a file in examples/ eg hello.pz, run them with plzrun <bytecode>.


  • 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 Discord server are the best resources for help.

For bugs or missing information please file a bug.