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Thanks for your answer; Terje Mathisen’s talk “Are virtual machines the future?” is exactly what I was looking for!
I’m pleased to report that somebody did record that talk and it’s up on vimeo at:
http://vimeo.com/108094559 (at least for now. You folks might want to download it and put it on your own website.)
FYI, here’s the abstract:
Mill Computing has been working for over a decade to develop a brand new, highly scalable CPU architecture. The scalability is partly achieved by having no fixed machine/assembly language, instead all programs are compiled to an intermediate (VM) machine. Upon installation on the actual target machine, a specializer is run which converts the intermediate representation into the current format. The Mill’s most unique features include having no actual registers, the ability to run completely out of cache with no actual RAM memory, an instruction set which is size-agnostic (the same opcode can work on 8, 16, 32, 64 or 128-bit variables or vectors) as well as being able to unroll algorithms in a way that would cause traps and crashes on classic architectures.