Erik Holk released his work publicly after working on it for two years. Harlan’s syntax is based on Scheme – a dialect of LISP programming language. The language aims to help developers make productive and efficient use of GPUs by enabling them to carry out their actual work while it takes care of the routine GPU programming tasks. The language has been designed to support GPU programming and it works much closer to the hardware.

The reason behind selecting Scheme as the basis for the language is because of its history at Indiana University and its use to build some compilers. According to the researcher the programming language has been named based on a mishearing of fried chicken icon Colonel Sanders’ first name, Harland and all the file extensions of the programming language are .kfc.

Harlan was created when investigating which characteristics are required for a language that is designed from the start to support GPU programming. The new language offers programming abstractions just like Python or Ruby. The new language also has functional programming language features – interpreter for lambda functions as well as support for higher-order procedures.

You can get the source code from GitHub under a BSD-style licence.