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Joel on Software

.Net Runtime in Hardware?

There are chips designed which can run Java bytecode directly on a chip with the JVM residing in hardware.  This was motivated by the need for embedded code and to speed up Java execution.

Are any companys working on this for .Net? 

If so, are there any predictions as to when this will be available and what the execution speedup will be over generic processors?

Gary Miller
Sunday, January 11, 2004

I doubt it - when .NET is running you're executing the (Just In Time compiled) native code of whatever processor architecture you're on. MS implemented JIT compilation too for their Java VM, back in the day, making their VM one of the fastest around.

Duncan Smart
Monday, January 12, 2004

There's no reason it couldn't be done, but I wouldn't say it's very likely.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, January 12, 2004

And, if you're talking about using it in a desktop, forget it. x86 emulation would be poor owing to the difference in architecture (stack vs. register), and .NET runs very fast on x86 CPUs already.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, January 12, 2004

IIRC, when Intel tried putting lisp on a chip (iAPX 432) back in the early 1980's, I believe that Moore's law eventually made it better to use a general purpose chip. I imagine the same thing would happen today if someone decided to put the JVM or the CLR on a chip.

Alan H.
Thursday, January 15, 2004

At the current Mobile PC conferences MS is spotted quoting that future PocketPCs and smart phones will have the .Net Compact Framework burned into rom. This isn't at all the same as a Java chip, but it's probably as close as you'll get knowing Microsoft's history. .Net is Microsoft's baby, not Intel's baby--so don't expect them to start fab-less chip-design boutiques anytime soon (see XBox).

Li-fan Chen
Monday, January 26, 2004

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