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Facebook Invents a Php Virtual Machine

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The HipHop VM logo

Facebook's HipHop Virtual Machine has been in use across all Facebook servers since earlier this year.

Credit: Facebook

Facebook says it has developed a virtual machine that can run the PHP Web programming language nine times as fast as PHP natively on large systems.

Facebook says it has been using the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) across all of its servers since earlier this year. The HipHop compiler, devised to translate PHP code into C++, provided Facebook with considerable performance gains for several years, but the company continued to seek other ways to speed the delivery of dynamically created Web pages to its 1 billion users.

Under development for about three years, HHVM works on the same principle as the Java Virtual Machine, and uses a just-in-time (JIT) compiler that converts the human-readable source code into machine-readable byte code when it is needed. The JIT approach enables the virtual machine to "make smarter decisions at runtime," says Facebook's Joel Pobar. He estimates that HHVM is about twice as fast as the previous HipHop, which has been retired within the company.

Facebook has posted the code for HHVM on GitHub to give others an opportunity to use it to accelerate their PHP websites.

From IDG News Service
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