What is the Difference Between Interpreter and JIT Compiler? with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

The main difference between Interpreter and JIT compiler is that the interpreter is a software that converts source code into native machine code line by line whereas JIT compiler is a component in JVM that improves the performance of Java programs by compiling code. of bytes into native machine code at run time.

Interpreter is a program that translates the programmer’s written instructions or scripts into corresponding machine code that matches a particular hardware platform of a CPU. On the other hand, JIT is a compiler that translates byte codes into machine codes at run time. It requires CPU time and memory.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Interpreter?
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is JIT Compiler?
     – Definition, Functionality
3. What is the difference between Interpreter and JIT Compiler?
     – Comparison of key differences

Key terms

Bytecode, interpreter, JIT compiler, JVM, machine code

What is the interpreter

Programmers write computer programs using a high-level programming language. You can easily read and understand the syntax of these programs. However, the CPU does not understand these programs to execute the task defined in the program. Therefore, it is necessary to convert the high-level source code into machine-understandable machine code.

                                                       Figure 1: Python interpreter

Interpreter is software that performs the conversion mentioned above. Converts the source code of the program into machine code line by line. As you check one line at a time, the scan time is less. But the total execution time of the program is longer. Therefore, interpreter-based languages ​​like Python, Perl, Ruby, and PHP are slower languages.

What is JIT compiler

The javac compiler converts Java source code into bytecode. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) can execute this bytecode. It converts that bytecode into the equivalent machine code so that the CPU can execute the task defined in the program. JIT stands for Just in Time compiler. It is an integral component of the JVM. Also, it supports JVM to execute Java bytecode faster and improves the performance of Java programs.

                                                             Figure 2: Java Bytecode

Any computer that has the JVM installed can run the bytecode. In other words, any platform with a JVM can install the bytecode. This makes the Java platform an independent programming language.

Difference between interpreter and JIT compiler

Definition

Interpreter is software that converts instructions written in a high-level programming or programming language into a machine language program. The JIT compiler is a component of the Java Runtime Environment (JVM is part of the JRE) that improves the performance of Java applications at runtime. These definitions explain the main difference between the interpreter and them.

Functionality

Interpreter converts source code line by line into machine code. The JIT compiler helps to execute bytecode faster by compiling the bytecode to machine code at runtime.

Execution Speed

The execution speed of an interpreter is slower than that of a JIT compiler. This is also a difference between interpreter and JIT compiler.

Associated Languages

Another difference between interpreter and JIT compiler is that PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby are some interpreter based languages ​​while Java uses JIT compiler.

Conclusion

The basic difference between interpreter and JIT compiler is that interpreter is software that converts source code into native machine code line by line whereas JIT compiler is a component of JVM that improves the performance of Java programs by compile bytecodes into native machine codes at run time.

Reference:

1. “Interpreter (Computer Science)”. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, September 28, 2018, Available here.
2. “JIT Compiler Overview,” IBM Knowledge Center, Available here.
3. Aboullaite, Mohammed. “Understanding JIT Compiler (Just-in-Time Compiler).” Aboullaite Med, August 31, 2017, Available here.

Courtesy image:

1. “Windows 7 Python Shell Interpreter Prompt May 11, 2016” By Annakoppad – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Java Program Execution” By Loboh – Own work (CC BY- SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

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