I have revised Plasma’s about page and as part of this I have decided to explain why Plasma is called Plasma.
As many followers will know I worked on an automatic parallelisation system for Mercury, and intend to implement a similar feature for Plasma.
Just as gases expand to fill their container, Plasma programs (named for the fourth state of matter) will flow to utilise modern parallel hardware.
There you have it.
It’s true that the better metaphor would be liquid, because I don’t want your program to actually increase in volume (like a gas or plasma does), but just to reach all the cores/SIMD/etc it can. I was originally considering a name like liquid or flow, but it sounded a little like a bodily function or something was spilt. Instead the name Plasma is hot, and that’s cool.
I also liked "Plasma' as a nod to the now-dead SISAL language developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) whom I had assumed also worked on nuclear fusion (Plasma, get it?). However it looks like I was wrong about that.