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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) 2015-2019 The Plasma Team, distributed mostly under the MIT license, see LICENSE for details.

Github and ICE

It came to light recently 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.

I (Paul Bone) am investigating options other than github and will move hosting of Plasma away from github (pending a suitable alternative and migration plan) if github do not end their contract with ICE.

I do not pay github for any services.

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.
  • Mercury. 14.01.1 at a minimum, but a newer 'rotd' version (2019-08-30 is known to work) is recommended for compatibility with newer C compilers and critical if you use musl-based system. There are rumours that newer versions aren't compatible on OS X, but I don't have any solid info.
  • Asciidoc

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. You'll need at least version 14.01.1, but newer 'rotd' versions have better C compiler and C library support. ROTD 2018-11-14 is known to work on 64bit Linux for Plasma. 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.


Make any changes you may need in the Makefile, everything configurable is towards the top of this file.

Use make in the root directory to build the project.

You should get:

  • src/plzc - The plasma compiler, compiles plasma (.p) files to plasma bytecode (.pz)
  • runtime/plzrun - The runtime system, executes plasma bytecode (.pz) files.
  • src/plzasm - The plasma bytecode assembler. This compiles textual bytecode (.pzt) to bytecode (.pz). It is useful for testing the runtime.

There are example plasma programs in examples/. Running make test will execute these programs as part of the test suite to ensure that things are working correctly.


  • 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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