IT Glossary



Virtual Machine (VM)

A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a hardware-like architecture, which executes predefined instructions in a fashion similar to a physical central processing unit (CPU). A VM can be used to create a cross-platform computing environment that loads and runs on computers independently of their underlying CPUs and operating systems. A notable example is the Java Virtual Machine, the environment created on a host computer to run Java applets. Although VMs have existed longer than Java, Java has made VMs highly visible.


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