University of Kent academic receives £40,000 donation from Oracle Labs to support research into GraalVM Interpreter Performance 

The University of Kent is thrilled to announce that Dr Stefan Marr, Senior Lecturer and Royal Society Industry Fellow at the School of Computing, has been awarded a generous £40,000 grant from Oracle Labs. This funding will support vital research into improving interpreter performance on the GraalVM language implementation platform. 

Interpreters execute computer programs and as such are key components of many modern programming language implementations. When you visit a website, an interpreter will for instance start to run the JavaScript code that makes the Internet rich and interactive. Similarly, when researchers train their latest machine learning models, interpreters coordinate the code that enables generative AI. Indeed, interpreters can be found in many shapes and forms throughout many software systems. 

The overall goal of this research project is to improve the performance of such interpreters. In practice, the project aims at better user experience, faster software, and more energy-efficient program execution. A particular focus of this work will be Oracle’s GraalVM platform. The research will propose new optimizations for interpreters, develop a better understanding of how modern compilers can improve interpreter performance, and reduce the engineering effort for language implementers. The work will proceed in the open and all findings will be contributed to the GraalVM open-source project to benefit the wider language implementation community. 

We are incredibly grateful to Oracle Labs for their generous support of this important research project. The findings from this work have the potential to significantly improve the performance and capabilities of the GraalVM system, benefiting developers and users worldwide. 

Dr Marr said:“We are delighted that Oracle Labs supports our research. This funding will allow us to continue our work on interpreter performance, contribute to the GraalVM system, and work towards reducing the overall effort needed to build a programming language. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of this research in the years to come.” 

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