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An abstract computing machine. A virtual machine behaves just like any other computer in that it has an instruction set and memory. The virtual machine is not a new concept. For example the programming language Smalltalk, developed during the 70's and early 80's used a virtual machine for executing ByteCode. The Java(TM) virtual machine was developed by Sun Microsystems Inc., and was originally implemented on a PersonalDigitalAssistant. The machine independent nature of the Java(TM) virtual machine combined with its security features makes it ideal for running code on a diversity of platforms that has been obtained from (potentially untrusted) sources across a network. The recent expansion of the internet has been a major cause of the Java(TM) virtual machines success.
- MatthewCaswell, 31 Oct 1997