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CHICKEN is a programming language, specifically a dialect of Scheme, designed for small size, speed, and compatibility with C libraries. It compiles Scheme code into efficient, standalone C applications that require no additional runtime support apart from the standard C library. Created by Felix L. Winkelmann, CHICKEN includes optimization features, a module system, and support for interfacing with C functions and garbage collection.

CHICKEN's unique features include its ability to compile Scheme code into standalone C applications optimized for speed and minimal runtime dependencies. The language offers an optimizing module system, built-in garbage collection, and a foreign function interface that allows easy integration with C libraries. This makes CHICKEN an efficient choice for developers looking to create high-performance applications while leveraging the power of existing C codebases.

Competitors like Racket, Guile, and Chez Scheme each have their own strengths but differ in focus compared to CHICKEN. While other implementations might offer extensive libraries or development tools catering to various developer needs, CHICKEN stands out due to its compactness and efficiency. Its emphasis on small size and speed provides a lightweight yet powerful option for developers aiming to integrate Scheme seamlessly with C while maintaining high performance standards in their projects.

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