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SPEC Releases SPECjvm98, First Industry-Standard Benchmark for Measuring Java Virtual Machine Performance

MANASSAS, Va., August 19, 1998 - The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has released SPECjvm98, a new benchmark suite that measures computer system performance for Java virtual machine (JVM) client platforms.

SPECjvm98 is available immediately for $100. A SPECjvm98 demo version, documentation, an order form, and initial benchmark results are available at SPEC's Web site <>.

SPECjvm98 allows users to evaluate performance for the combined hardware includes software aspects of the JVM client platform. On the software side, it measures the efficiency of JVM, the just-in-time (JIT) compiler, and operating system implementations. On the hardware side, it includes CPU (integer and floating-point), cache, memory, and other platform-specific performance.

Cutting Through the Hype

" SPECjvm98 cuts through the hype of proprietary benchmarks, satisfying the industry need for standardized JVM performance measurement," says Kaivalya Dixit, SPEC's president. "This is the most accessible SPEC benchmark ever produced. We expect users and vendors worldwide will take advantage of SPECjvm98 to improve JVM and JIT compiler performance."

The SPECjvm98 benchmark suite contains eight different tests, five of which are either real applications or derived from real applications that are commercially available. The tests measure the time it takes to load the program, verify the class files, compile on the fly if a JIT compiler is used, and execute the test. Each test is run several times and two scores are generated: a "worst" score for the slowest time and a "best" score for the fastest. A geometric mean is used to compute a composite score for all tests. Test scores are normalized against a reference machine - a midrange IBM PowerPC 604 with a 133-MHz processor. Higher scores indicate better performance.

Tapping Into Real Applications

With SPECjvm98, SPEC has been able to more fully realize its goal of using real applications for testing whenever it is possible. SPECjvm98 takes advantage of Java's byte-code format to provide tests based on a variety of applications from independent software vendors (ISVs). Byte-codes allow ISVs to contribute to SPEC benchmarks without releasing the secrets of their proprietary source code.

The following tests are included in the SPECjvm98 benchmark suite:

  • _200_check - A program developed by SPEC to check JVM and Java features.
  • _201_compress - A popular LZW compression program.
  • _202_jess - A Java version of NASA's popular CLIPS rule-based expert system, licensed from Sandia Laboratories.
  • _209_db - Data management benchmarking software written by IBM.
  • _213_javac - The JDK Java compiler licensed from Sun Microsystems.
  • _222_mpegaudio - The core algorithm for software that decodes an MPEG-3 audio stream; licensed from Fraunhofer Institut fuer Integrierte Schaltungen, a leading international research lab.
  • _227_mtrt - A dual-threaded program that ray traces an image file.
  • _228_jack - A real parser-generator licensed from Sun Microsystems.

"We applaud SPEC's decision to incorporate commercial applications in the SPECjvm98 benchmark suite," says Martin Sieler, senior engineer and head of Fraunhofer IIS' multimedia software group. "As vendors tune for higher benchmark numbers, they will be delivering greater performance for our software, which benefits our customers."

Initial Results Available

Initial SPECjvm98 performance results are available on SPEC's Web site for 11 different systems from IBM and Sun Microsystems. Results are reported under three memory categories: 0-48 MB, 48-256 MB, and 256 MB and above. SPEC expects widespread reporting of SPECjvm98 results over the next few months, now that the benchmark suite is available to the public. In addition to results on SPEC's Web site, SPECjvm98 licensees may publish their own results in accordance with SPEC's run and reporting rules.

To run SPECjvm98, users need a Java client with a minimum of 32MB of memory and support for JVM 1.1.2 or higher. The benchmark is installed on a server, which needs a minimum of 32MB of disk space. To report results, users need the SPEC tool harness, which requires a graphics display.

SPEC is a non-profit corporation formed to establish, maintain and endorse a standardized set of relevant benchmarks that can be applied to the newest generation of high-performance computers. The SPEC Web site <> offers, without cost, the broadest set of performance ratings for evaluating computer systems. SPEC member groups include the Open Systems Group (OSG); OSG Associates, consisting of leading universities and research facilities; the High-Performance Group (HPG); HPG Associates; and the Graphics Performance Characterization (GPC) Group.


Press contacts:  Bob Cramblitt, Michelle Perkins; Cramblitt & Company
     tel: 919-481-4599; fax: 919-481-4639