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Sun 30 October - Fri 4 November 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mon 31 Oct 2016 14:25 - 15:10 at St Gallen - Session 3 Chair(s): Tony Hosking

2016 is a coincidence of anniversaries: 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, and 40 years since Wirth specified the code virtual machine. This talk uniquely brings together Shakespeare’s poetry and language-level virtual machine engineering. This high-energy collision has interesting outcomes. In his ‘Seven Ages of Man’ poem, Shakespeare outlines how ‘One man in his time plays many parts’—from the infant to the ancient. In this talk, I will argue that a virtual machine has seven analogous ages, or phases. In order, these ages are (1) incomplete prototype, (2) beta version, (3) next big thing, (4) research platform, (5) production platform, (6) legacy system, and (7) bitrotted artefact. I will qualitatively characterise each VM age in some detail. I will also give an instance of a current VM at each age. This may be controversial, but should promote discussion. Do you remember Rotor or Jikes RVM? Where is PyPy or Maxine VM? What about V8 or HotSpot? And has anyone ever heard of OCODE?