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Paradigm functional, dataflow
Appeared in 1983
Designed by James McGraw
Developer James McGraw et al., at University of Manchester, LLNL, Colorado State University, and DEC
Typing discipline static, strong
Major implementations osc, sisalc
Influenced by VAL, Pascal, C, Fortran
Influenced SAC

SISAL (Streams and Iteration in a Single Assignment Language) is a general-purpose single assignment functional programming language with strict semantics, implicit parallelism, and efficient array handling. SISAL outputs a dataflow graph in Intermediary Form 1 (IF1). It was derived from VAL (Value-oriented Algorithmic Language), and adds recursion and finite streams. It has a Pascal-like syntax and was designed to be a common high-level language for numerical programs on a variety of multiprocessors.



SISAL was defined in 1983 by James McGraw et al., at the University of Manchester, LLNL, Colorado State University and DEC. It was revised in 1985, and the first compiled implementation was made in 1986. Its performance is superior to C and rivals Fortran, according to some sources,[1] combined with efficient and automatic parallelization.

SISAL's name came from grepping "sal" for "Single Assignment Language" from the Unix dictionary /usr/dict/words.

Versions exist for the Cray X-MP, Y-MP, 2; Sequent, Encore Alliant, dataflow architectures, Transputers and systolic arrays.


  1. Retire Fortran?: a debate rekindled, David Cann, August 1992, Communications of the ACM, Volume 35, Issue 8


This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL.

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