Process Virtual Machine, Application Virtual Machine

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Process virtual machine

A process virtual machine (further VM), sometimes called an application virtual machine, runs as a normal application inside an operating systems and supports a single process. It is created when that process is started and destroyed when it exits. Its purpose is to provide a platform-independent programming environment that abstracts away details of the underlying hardware or operating system, and allows a program to execute in the same way on any platform. A process VM provides a high-level abstraction — that of a high-level programming language (compared to the low-level ISA abstraction of the system VM). Process VMs are implemented using an interpreter; performance comparable to compiled programming languages is achieved by the use of just-in-time compilation.


Unlike other process VMs, these systems do not provide a specific programming language, but are embedded in an existing language; typically such a system provides bindings for several languages (e.g. C and FORTRAN). Examples are PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine) and MPI (Message Passing Interface). They are not strictly virtual machines, as the applications running on top still have access to all OS services, and are therefore not confined to the system model provided by the "VM".
Java Virtual Machine (JVM) 6772
Lua 37308
Microsoft .NET Framework 11394
Parrot 76280
PearPC 71093
Squeak 4963
Zend 5052


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