We are so used to von neumann architecture and say a register machine like the x86. (Also with programming languages built for those machines x86 assembly, C, etc) Is that approach to computing completely separate from a language and system like haskell?

What would a machine look like that was based functional programming paradigms look like? and one not running on a register or stack machine.

This article is relevant to my question:


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    $\begingroup$ This seems too glib to count as an actual answer, but: why wouldn't they look like an x86 running the Haskell environment? Functional programming is a high-level language construct, and the point of high level programming is to insulate you from the messy details of the machine architecture, so why do you think it would be a good idea to remove this insulation? Alternatively, if you really do want both low-level and functional, have you tried looking at combinators? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't the correct answer to this question simply "No"? $\endgroup$
    – Jeffε
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 2:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, not an actual question. $\endgroup$
    – beroal
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ If I understand your question, the title has nothing to do with the question. Please edit it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Many hardware designs for executing functional programs have been proposed:

and more (lots are cited in the Reduceron papers).


The abstract machine would look like i.e. the untyped lambda calculus or the SKI combinator or just some kind of a LISP dialect.

In hardware it would probably look like a biologic cell, calculating via pattern matching on the genes in the core – directly running that LISP dialect. (You might like to read this blog entry: "New computer language based on Lisp enables biological modeling")

  • $\begingroup$ Hey, biology has an efficient garbage collector and arbitrary parallelism… you cannot have that on any imperative machine nor any FPGA. And enzymes are nano-bots, so… it might even be able to compile itself on the hardware-level. But bio-computers are still as experimental as quantum-computers. $\endgroup$
    – comonad
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 10:29

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