Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


John Clements

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Racket is a modern, general-purpose programming language with a language-oriented focus. To date, Racket has found notable uses in research and education, among other applications. To expand the reach of the language, there has been a desire to develop an efficient platform for running Racket in a web-based environment. WebAssembly (Wasm) is a binary executable format for a stack-based virtual machine designed to provide a fast, efficient, and secure execution environment for code on the web. Wasm is primarily intended to be a compiler target for higher-level languages. Providing Wasm support for the Racket project may be a promising way to bring Racket to the browser.

To this end, we present an incremental approach to the development of a Racket- to-Wasm compiler. We make use of an existing backend for Racket that targets a portable bytecode known as PB, along with the associated PB interpreter. We per- form an ahead-of-time static translation of sections of PB into native Wasm, linking the chunks back to the interpreter before execution. By replacing portions of PB with native Wasm, we can eliminate some portion of interpretation overhead and move closer to native Wasm support for Chez Scheme (Racket’s Backend). Due to the use of an existing backend and interpreter, our approach already supports nearly all features of the Racket language – including delimited continuations, tail-calling behavior, and garbage collection – and excluding threading and FFI support for the time being.

We perform benchmarks against a baseline to validate our approach, to promising results.