Dynamic Languages Symposium (DLS)

The Dynamic Languages Symposium (DLS) is a forum for discussion of dynamic languages, their implementation and application. While mature dynamic languages including Smalltalk, Lisp, Scheme, Self, Prolog, and APL continue to grow and inspire new converts, a new generation of dynamic scripting languages such as JavaScript, Python, Ruby, PHP, Tcl, Lua, and Clojure are successful in a wide range of applications. DLS provides a place for researchers and practitioners to come together and share their knowledge, experience, and ideas for future research and development.

DLS 2023


  • Most Notable Paper Award 2022 for 2012
    • Recipients: Thomas Würthinger, Andreas Wöß, Lukas Stadler, Gilles Duboscq, Doug Simon, and Christian Wimmer
    • Title: Self-optimizing AST interpreters
    • Conference: DLS 2012
    • Paper: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/2384577.2384587
    • Citation: Over the past decade, the authors and their collaborators have taken the ideas from this paper and turned it into the Truffle and GraalVMsystem, which has revolutionized how we implement languages on the JVM. Today, the GraalVM is a major product and Truffle is a language implementationtechnology producing high-performance implementations of everything from Ruby to C, all built upon the ideas of AST rewriting in the interpreter.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2021 for 2011
    • Recipients: Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert, Erick Lavoie, Marc Feeley, Bruno Dufour
    • Title: Bootstrapping a Self-Hosted Research Virtual Machine for JavaScript: An Experience Report
    • Conference: DLS 2011
    • Paper: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/2047849.2047858
    • Citation: The 2011 DLS paper “Bootstrapping a Self-Hosted Research Virtual Machine for JavaScript: An Experience Report” is a great overview and source of ideas for virtual machine development. It represents a comprehensive guide to design choices to make in the space and for that it is still notable today.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2020 for 2010
    • Recipients: Tom Van Cutsem and Mark S. Miller
    • Title: Design Principles for Robust Object-oriented Intercession APIs
    • Conference: DLS 2010
    • Paper: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/1869631.1869638
    • Citation: The 2010 DLS paper “Proxies: Design Principles for Robust Object-oriented Intercession APIs” is a prime example of the object-capability model. In short order, it managed to bridge the gap from research to become an integral part of an important language today.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2019 for 2009
    • Recipients: Alexander Yermolovich, Christian Wimmer, and Michael Franz
    • Title: Optimization of Dynamic Languages Using Hierarchical Layering of Virtual Machines
    • Conference: DLS 2009
    • Paper: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1408688
    • Citation: This 2009 DLS paper is an important early paper in the area of meta virtual machines. It showed a simple and effective approach to VM construction that was simultaneously explored by multiple research groups at the time and which has since found further applications.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2018 for 2008
    • Recipients: Jeremy G. Siek and Manish Vachharajani
    • Title: Gradual Typing With Unification-based Inference
    • Conference: DLS 2008
    • Paper: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1408681.1408688
    • Citation: The 2008 DLS paper “Gradual Typing With Unification-based Inference” showed that one can increase the static guarantees made in a program through an ingenious combination of gradual typing and unification-base type inference. The ideas underlying this paper have found their way into the design of many modern programming languages, and have had a strong impact on the research community.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2017 for 2007
    • Recipients: Stijn Mostinckx, Tom Van Cutsem, Stijn Timbermont, and Éric Tanter
    • Title: Mirages–Behavioral Intercession in a Mirror-based Architecture
    • Conference: DLS 2007
    • Paper: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1297095
    • Citation: The 2007 DLS paper “Mirages: Behavioral Intercession in a Mirror-based Architecture” combined the ideas of explicit mirrors for reflective introspection and modification with implicit mirrors for behavioral intercession. The work in this paper influenced and inspired the design of proxies in the JavaScript language, where it now has applications in areas such as security, testing, and virtualization of the DOM.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2016 for 2006
    • Recipients: Armin Rigo and Samuele Pedroni
    • Title: PyPy’s Approach to Virtual Machine Construction
    • Conference: DLS 2006
    • Paper: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1176753
    • Citation: The 2006 DLS paper “PyPy’s Approach to Virtual Machine Construction” introduced the PyPy Python interpreter and the RPython framework. Both are still highly relevant in various areas to this day and will continue to be influential for many years, thus demonstrating highly impressive long-term vision and impact. The paper laid the theoretical and practical foundations of constructing a virtual machine from a high-level description and was consequently built upon by numerous follow-up publications. The software, which continues to be developed by a large and active open source community, proved extensively usable in multiple academic and industrial contexts.
  • Most Notable Paper Award 2015 for 2005
    • Recipients: Pascal Costanza and Robert Hirschfeld
    • Title: Language Constructs for Context-oriented Programming–An Overview of ContextL
    • Conference: DLS 2005
    • Paper: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1146842
    • Citation: The 2005 DLS paper “Language Constructs for Context-oriented Programming: An Overview of ContextL” introduced a framework that enables programmers to modify the behavior of a program based on the context in which it is used, without requiring changes to the original program. This paper triggered a cascade of research on Context-oriented Programming and spawned a community with its own international workshop series, which is still going strong today.

Past Events

Steering Committee Members


  • Chair: Tim Felgentreff, Oracle Labs, Germany (SC Chair 2018-2021, PC Chair 2018)
  • Davide Ancona, Università degli studi di Genova, Italy (PC Chair 2017)
  • Carl Friedrich Bolz-Tereick, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany (Past SC Chair 2018-2021, SC Chair 2015-2018, PC Chair 2013)
  • Robert Hirschfeld, Hasso Plattner Institute and University of Potsdam, Germany (Member at Large 2018-2020, Past SC Chair 2015-2018, SC Chair 2007-2015, PC Chair 2007, PC Chair 2006)
  • Stefan Marr, University of Kent, UK (PC Chair 2019)
  • Benjamin C. Pierce, University of Pennsylvania, USA (SIGPLAN 2018-2021)
  • Laurence Tratt, King’s College London, UK (Emeritus Member 2018-2020, Emeritus Member 2016-2018, PC Chair 2014)


  • Johan Brichau (PC Chair 2008)
  • William D. Clinger (PC Chair 2010)
  • Pascal Costanza (SC Chair 2007-2013, PC Chair 2007)
  • Theo D’Hondt (PC Chair 2011)
  • Richard P. Gabriel (Member at Large 2007-2013)
  • Jeremy Gibbons (SIGPLAN 2012-2015)
  • Roberto Ierusalimschy (PC Chair 2016)
  • James Noble (PC Chair 2009)
  • Manuel Serrano (PC Chair 2015)
  • Peter Thiemann (SIGPLAN 2015-2018)
  • Dave Thomas (Member at Large 2007-2013)
  • Alessandro Warth (PC Chair 2012)
  • Roel Wuyts (PC Chair 2005)