Jikes RVM

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Jikes RVM
Developer(s) Jikes RVM Team and Contributors
Stable release
3.1.4 / February 18, 2016; 22 months ago (2016-02-18)
Development status Active
Written in Java
Operating system Unix-like
Type Java Virtual Machine, library
License Eclipse Public License
Website www.jikesrvm.org

Jikes RVM (Jikes Research Virtual Machine) is a mature open source virtual machine that runs Java programs. Unlike most other JVMs, it is written in Java, a style of implementation termed meta-circular.


  • 1997 November, the Jalapeño project starts as an internal research project at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center.
  • 1999, 2000, research papers describing novel aspects of Jikes RVM are published by IBM researchers and several universities are given access to the source code.
  • 2001 October, Jikes RVM version 2 is released as an open source project under the Common Public License. The release supports PowerPC and Intel architectures and a range of different garbage collection algorithms.
  • 2002, Jikes RVM 2.2 is released with the precise garbage collectors now refactored into the popular Memory Management Toolkit precise garbage collectors.
  • 2004, Jikes RVM 2.4 is released with increased stability and performance partly, particular focus was made of running eclipse.
  • 2007, Jikes RVM 2.9 development starts with the code base extensively refactored to use features of Java 5.0 and to use an ant build system.
  • 2008, Jikes RVM 3.0 released marking the end of 2.9 development and new stability in the code base.
  • 2009, Jikes RVM 3.1 released under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) with significant improvements over the performance of version 3.0.1 and a switch to native threading.
  • 2012, Jikes RVM wins the ACM SIGPLAN Software award, cited for its "high quality and modular design."[1]


Being meta-circular Jikes RVM requires a bootstrap JVM to run upon to create a boot image. The boot image is a view of the objects Jikes RVM requires to boot created using reflection in the bootstrap JVM. A small C loader is responsible for loading the boot image at runtime.

VM Magic[edit]

VM Magic is where the compiler generates different code for a class than the bytecodes within that class should perform. VM Magic classes allow direct access to memory and are key to the Memory Management Toolkits performance. The VM Magic classes reside in the org.vmmagic package and have been reused in other Java projects.

Memory Management Toolkit[edit]

The Memory Management Toolkit (MMTk) is a collection of precise garbage collectors that have been used within Jikes RVM and other projects such as the Singularity operating system and the Rotor software project.[2] As with the rest of the Jikes RVM the implementation is in Java, but the main dependence is on VM Magic.

Class Libraries[edit]

Either Apache Harmony or GNU Classpath class libraries can be used with Jikes RVM, with experimental support for OpenJDK's class library.


Jikes RVM uses a fast baseline compiler to quickly generate code for a particular architecture. Adaptive compilation then recompiles code with an optimizing compiler with features such as on-stack replacement (OSR). The adaptive compilation system uses a cost-benefit analysis model.


Jikes RVM's runtime has many innovative features including mechanisms for fast locking, a collaborative scheduling mechanism and support for fast exception gathering and dispatch.


The PowerPC (or ppc) and IA-32 (or Intel x86, 32-bit) instruction set architectures are supported by Jikes RVM.


Since it is a research project, the emphasis of Jikes RVM is on researching new technologies, as is apparent from the scientific publications it has spawned -- over 220 papers as of 2015.[3]

Jikes RVM has also participated in the Google Summer of Code 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  2. ^ Jikes RVM Project Proposals 2009
  3. ^ "Jikes RVM research papers"

The Jikes Research Virtual Machine project: Building an open-source research community, IBM Systems Journal, Vol 44, No 2, 2005. http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/442/alpern.pdf

External links[edit]