Current production virtual machines (VMs) provide high performance execution of programs only for a specific language or a very small set of languages. Compilation, memory management, and tooling are maintained separately for different languages, violating the ‘don’t repeat yourself’ (DRY) principle. This leads not only to a larger burden for the VM implementers, but also for developers due to inconsistent performance characteristics, tooling, and configuration. Furthermore, communication between programs written in different languages requires costly serialization and deserialization logic. Finally, high performance VMs are heavyweight processes with high memory footprint and difficult to embed.
Several years ago, to address these shortcomings, Oracle Labs started a new research project for exploring a novel architecture for virtual machines. Our vision was to create a single VM that would provide high performance for all programming languages, therefore facilitating communication between programs. This architecture would support unified language-agnostic tooling for better maintainability and its embeddability would make the VM ubiquitous across the stack.
To meet this goal, we have invented a new approach for building such a VM. After years of extensive research and development, we are now ready to present the first production-ready release.
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