Galois (aka Galois Connections, Inc.) is an employee-owned software development company based in Beaverton, Oregon, U.S.A. Galois began life in late 1999 with the stated purpose of using functional languages to solve industrial problems.

Galois develops software under contract, and every project (bar two) that we have ever done has used Haskell; the exceptions used SML-NJ and OCaml, respectively. We've delivered tools, written in Haskell, to clients in industry and the U.S. government that are being used heavily. Five diverse examples: Cryptol, a domain-specific language for cryptography (with an interpreter and a compiler); a cross-domain file and web server; a GUI debugger for a specialized chip; a tool for easily embedding new syntax in the client's own language (sort of a souped-up Happy + OCaml's P4), and a legacy code translator (translating from K&R C to ANSI C, while moving from SunOS 4 to Solaris and a new abstract API).

So, why do we use Haskell? There are benefits to moving to Java or C# from C++ or C, such as cleaner type systems, cleaner semantics, and better memory management support. But languages like Haskell give you a lot more besides: they're much higher level, so you get more productivity, you can express more complex algorithms, you can program and debug at the "design" level, and you get a lot more help from the type system. These arguments have been made time and again though, and they're also pretty subjective.

For Galois, it's also a big bonus that Haskell is close to its mathematical roots, because our clients care about "high assurance" software. High assurance software development is about giving solid (formal or semi-formal) evidence that your product does what it should do. The more functionality provided, the more difficult this gets. The standard approach has been to cut out functionality to make high assurance development possible. But our clients want high assurance tools and products with very complex functionality. Without Haskell (or some similar language, like ML or OCaml), we wouldn't even be able to attempt to build such tools and products.

At Galois, we're happily able to solve real world problems for real clients without having to give up on using the tools and languages we worked on when we were in the Academic world. In fact, we credit most of our success with the fact that we can apply language design and semantics techniques to our clients' problems. Functional languages are an integral part that approach, and a big part of the unique value that our clients have come to known us for.

The good news is that our business is working quite well. As of Summer 2005, Galois is 17 engineers strong, with a support staff of 8. We've been profitable and experienced solid growth each of the last three years.

This year, we're stepping up our community involvement: is about to move to a new, much beefier machine that will be funded and maintained by Galois. We'll also be supporting various community efforts on that machine, such as the Hackage database and The Haskell Sequence.

We're also trying to drum up support for an industry-based consortium of companies and individuals that use and rely upon Haskell. The stated purpose of the as yet unformed consortium would be to ensure the long-term viability of Haskell, to provide some back-up to the Simons, and to stimulate the development of industrial-grade tools for Haskell development. If you're interested in getting involved, e-mail moran at

For more, see the Galois web site.