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					               JVM Overview

Virtual Machine Background
JVM: operational view
JVM: structural view
Concluding remarks
Reading List

  LY99 Chapter 3. Structure of the Java Virtual Machine
  Venners98 Chapter 5. The Java Virtual Machine
  GJS96 Chapter 12: Execution
Other references
  Survey of VM Research 1974
     “Virtual machines have finally arrived. Dismissed for a
      number of years as academic curiosities, they are now seen
      as cost effective techniques for organizing computer
  Inferno Virtual Machine
  Oak Intermediate Bytecode
What is a virtual machine?

David Gelernter: Truth, beauty, and VMs
  “A running program is often referred to as a VM -- a
   machine that doesn’t exist as a matter of actual
   physical reality. The virtual machine idea is … most
   elegant in the history of technology … a crucial step in
   the evolution of ideas about software.”
an operating system
a control program to run multiple operating
Design Goals

abstract enough
close enough to the hardware
question: what is the intended use?

Inferno: run OS code
JVM: run application code
What is the JVM?
Key Distinction

what is the specification?
what is the implementation?
  object layout is not part of the specification
  garbage collection is not part of the spec
JVM: View 1

from the language point of view
trace the lifetime of a virtual machine
invocation, loading-linking, object lifetime, exit
VM in action

invoked “java Test args”
attempts to find class Test
VM uses the class loader
Invoke Test.main

check whether already loaded
if not, invoke the appropriate loader.loadClass
internal table is part of the specification?
class loader flexibility: prefetch, load a bunch
prefetching can be non-transparent!
errors, however, need to be reported separately
class loader hooks: defineClass, findSystemClass,

Link = verification, preparation, resolution
Verification: semantic checks, proper symbol
  proper opcodes, good branch targets
  conservation of stack depth
Preparation: allocation of storage (method
Resolution: resolve symbol references, check
 access, check concreteness
Resolution: eager vs lazy strategy

initialize class variables, static initializers
direct superclass need to be initialized prior
happens on direct use: method invocation,
 construction, field access
synchronized initializations: state in Class object
   check for recursive initializations

   class Super {
              static { System.out.print(“Super “);
   class One {
              static { System.out.print(“One “);
   class Two extends Super {
              static { System.out.print(“Two “);
   class Test {
              public static void main(String[] args) {
                         One o = null;
                         Two t = new Two();
                         System.out.println((Object)o == (Object)t);

   class Super { static int taxi = 1729; }
   class Sub extends Super {
              static { System.out.print(“Sub “);
   class Test {
              public static void main(String[] args) {
Creation of new instances

instance creation expressions: new
string literals, concatenation operations
  default field values
  invoke constructor
  invoke another constructor of this class
  invoke super’s constructors
  initialize instance variables
  execute rest of the constructor

invoked just before garbage collection
language does not specify when it is invoked
also does not specify which thread
no automatic invocation of super’s finalizers
very tricky!
         void finalize() {
            classVariable = field;   // field is now reachable
State Machine
VM Exit

classFinalize similar to object finalization
class can be unloaded when
   no instances exist
   class object is unreachable
VM exits when:
   all its threads terminate
   Runtime.exit or System.exit assuming it is secure
finalizers can be optionally invoked on all objects
 just before exit
JVM: View 2

data types, values
runtime data areas
instruction set
object management
support for special libraries
Data types and values

corresponds to Java language types
  byte, short, int, long, char, float, double, boolean
  returnAddress type is only exception
  references: concrete value of null left to
integer sizes: is it too constraining?
floating point values: standard and extended
no runtime type information
instruction specifies the type of operands
  iadd as opposed to fadd
Object Representation

left to the implementation
add extra level of indirection
  make garbage collection easier
need pointers to instance data and class data
mutex lock
GC state (flags)
Runtime Data Areas

per-thread vs. VM wide
pc register: per thread, undefined while
 executing native methods
VM stack (per-thread)
  local variables, partial results
  method invocation, return
  can be heap allocated as well as non-contiguous
  size can be manipulated by the programmer
  StackOverflowError vs OutOfMemoryError
Runtime Data Areas

Heap (VM wide)
  for storing objects
  assumes no particular GC method
  heap size can expand, user control exists
  might cause OutOfMemoryError
Method area (VM wide)
  runtime constant pool
  field and method data
  logically part of the heap
Native method stacks: how to catch exceptions?
VM Stack Frames

created and destroyed with method invocations
local variable array, own operand stack
local variable array elements can store a float/int
  used for parameter passing
  instance methods pass “this” as 0th argument
operand stack: depth determined at compile-time
  elements can hold any type
reference to the class’s runtime constant pool
  symbolic references for dynamic linking
Initialization Methods

specially named
<init> for instances
  invokespecial instruction
  can be invoked only on uninitialized instances
<clinit> for classes
  implicitly invoked

each catch/finally clause is represented as an
 exception handler
associated with each handler is the code extent
exception handler table is ordered by the
JVM does not enforce strict nesting
Instruction set

variable size instruction
one-byte opcode followed by arguments
byte aligned except for operands of tableswitch
 and lookupswitch
compactness vs. performance
types part of the instruction (iload, fload)
use int operations for byte, char, short, int,
some are type-independent (pop, swap)

object creation, access fields, load/store array
 elements, get array length, type checks
operand stack management
control transfer, method invocation, throw
monitor entry/exit

notion of priorities
does not specify time-slicing
complex specification of consistency model
  working memory vs. general store
  non-atomic longs and doubles
T.start() is native, invokes

issues where implementation is not constrained
  loading of classes -- bad?
  finalization of objects -- bad?
  object representation -- good
issues where implementation is over-constrained
  integer representations?
  implementation of local variables, expression stacks?
   clearly, a JIT does not conform to these specifications
what really is the specification of the JVM
  is it the bytecode and class-file format?

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