Some very interesting work is being done on dynamic code generation by Ian Piumarta, now at VPRI - run by Alan Kay. His ccg (created while at INRIA) preprocesses a C program so that it will generate inline machine code - and is usable for just about anything. The next step is a generic object system, which has been used to bootstrap into a full-scale Smalltalk/Squeak system. The result is several times faster than the original, which must have had a lot of smart people pushing limits - a figure I've seen mentioned is 80% of C speed. Which is breathtaking, considering that this is fully dynamic late-bound message passing versus static optimized code.

Fast forward to today and Alan Kay explains how this might just be the tip of a very new iceberg (PDF). As can also be inferred from the name of a new mailing list, btw. There's also a video (sound gets better after 20' or so).

It's slightly unfortunate that several developments with a potentially fascinating connection to Vlerq all come from a different setting (Lisp, Smalltalk, APL) and that my mental bandwidth and time simply isn't up to giving each of these the deep attention they really deserve. Oh well, I can do my best - but no better...

(With thanks to Arto Stimms for passing on several great pointers)