Tag Archives: Bytecode

Intermediate Language Design of High-level Language Virtual Machines: Towards Comprehensive Concurrency Support

My second workshop paper got published at the ACM Digital Library. This is actually only an abstract, but nonetheless, it might be interesting for people looking into the design of virtual machines and especially bytecodes/intermediate languages.


Today’s major high-level language virtual machines (VMs) are becoming successful in being multi-language execution platforms, hosting a wide range of languages. With the transition from few-core to many-core processors, we argue that VMs will also have to abstract from concrete concurrency models at the hardware level, to be able to support a wide range of abstract concurrency models on a language level. To overcome the lack of sufficient abstractions for concurrency concepts in VMs, we proposed earlier to extend VM intermediate languages by special concurrency constructs[PLACES09].

As a first step towards this goal, we try to fill a gap in the current literature and survey the intermediate language design of VMs. Our goal is to identify currently used techniques and principles as well as to gain an overview over the available concurrency related features in intermediate languages.

Another aspect of interest is the influence of the particular target language, for which the VM is originally intended, on the intermediate language.

  • Paper: PDF
    ©ACM, 2009. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in VMIL’09, October 25, 2009. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1711506.1711509
  • BibTex: BibSonomy

Slides of the Talk at VMIL09/OOPSLA

Virtual Machine Support for Many-Core Architectures: Decoupling Abstract from Concrete Concurrency Models

Finally, my first workshop paper got published, which was a little odyssey with some misunderstandings, but anyway, now it is out. It is just a position paper, thus, do not expect to many insights. However, what it describes is my big plan, and hopefully the story of my PhD. Am working on it…


The upcoming many-core architectures require software developers to exploit concurrency to utilize available computational power. Today’s high-level language virtual machines (VMs), which are a cornerstone of software development, do not provide sufficient abstraction for concurrency concepts. We analyze concrete and abstract concurrency models and identify the challenges they impose for VMs. To provide sufficient concurrency support in VMs, we propose to integrate concurrency operations into VM instruction sets.

Since there will always be VMs optimized for special purposes, our goal is to develop a methodology to design instruction sets with concurrency support. Therefore, we also propose a list of trade-offs that have to be investigated to advise the design of such instruction sets.

As a first experiment, we implemented one instruction set extension for shared memory and one for non-shared memory concurrency. From our experimental results, we derived a list of requirements for a full-grown experimental environment for further research.

Slides of the Talk at PLACES09