32-bit vs 64-bit
    Annotations vs Decorators
    BigQuery vs Bigtable
    Block Storage vs File Storage vs Object Storage
    C vs C++
    Canvas vs SVG
    Constructor vs Init() vs Factory
    Containers vs Virtual Machines (VMs)
    DOM vs Virtual DOM vs Shadow DOM
    DQL vs DDL vs DCL vs DML
    Dagger vs Guice
    Data Mining vs Machine Learning vs Artificial Intelligence vs Data Science
    Flux vs Redux
    GCP API Gateway vs Cloud Endpoint
    GCP Cloud Run vs Cloud Functions vs App Engine
    GCP DataFlow vs Dataproc
    Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics
    Google Internal vs Open Source
    HEIC vs HEIF vs HEVC vs JPEG
    Java vs C++
    Jetty vs Netty
    Kotlin vs Java
    LLVM vs JVM
    Linux vs BSD
    Microcontroller vs Microprocessor vs Computer
    Node.js vs Erlang
    POSIX vs SUS vs LSB
    Pass-by-value vs Pass-by-reference
    Proto2 vs Proto3
    PubSub vs Message Queue
    REST vs SOAP
    React vs Flutter vs Angular
    Rust vs C++
    SLI vs SLO vs SLA
    SRAM vs DRAM
    SSD vs HDD
    Software Engineer vs Site Reliability Engineer
    Spanner vs Bigtable
    Stack based VM vs Register based VM
    Stateless vs Stateful
    Static Site Generation vs Server-side Rendering vs Client-side Rendering
    Strong Consistency vs Eventual Consistency
    Subroutines vs Coroutines vs Generators
    Symlinks vs Hard Links
    TCP vs UDP
    Tensorflow vs PyTorch
    Terminal vs Shell
    Vi vs Vim vs gVim vs Neovim
    WAL vs rollback journal
    gtag vs Tag Manager
    stubs vs mocks vs fakes

Stack based VM vs Register based VM

Updated: 2021-11-19

VMs: an abstraction of a computer, that emulates a real machine.

Process VM vs System VM

  • Process VM: application virtual machine, or Managed Runtime Environment (MRE), runs as a normal application inside a host OS and supports a single process. Think about JVM.
  • System VM: a "guest" operating system (the actual hardware is the "host").

The rest of this page is about process virtual machines.

Stack based VM

An interpreter of a special bytecode, that translates its in real time for execution on the CPU.

Virtual machine does not need to know the operand addresses explicitly, as calling the stack pointer will give (Pop) the next operand.

Example: JVM, CLR.

Register based VM

Also interpreters of bytecode, don’t use the stack for the operands but rather a set of registers.

Register based VMs tend to be more complex, they are also generally faster at runtime, since they map much more closely to the CPU. They tend to generate and execute better efficient code.

There is no POP or PUSH operations. But unlike the stack, we need to explicitly mention the addresses of the operands.

  • requires fewer, typically more complex, virtual machine instructions
  • instructions execute faster, no overhead of POP and PUSH
  • allows for optimizations cannot be done in the stack based VMs.
  • Average register instruction is larger than an average stack instruction, as we need to specify the operand addresses explicitly.


  • Lua, good performance, used in video grames as the scripting language.
  • Dalvik VM (replaced by Android Runtime, or ART).