The heart of the Java Platform is the concept of a "virtual machine" that executes Java bytecode programs. This bytecode is the same no matter what hardware or operating system the program is running under. There is a JIT compiler within the Java Virtual Machine, or JVM. The JIT compiler translates the Java bytecode into native processor instructions at run-time and caches the native code in memory during execution.
The use of bytecode as an intermediate language permits Java programs to run on any platform that has a virtual machine available. The use of a JIT compiler means that Java applications, after a short delay during loading and once they have "warmed up" by being all or mostly JIT-compiled, tend to run about as fast as native programs. Since JRE version 1.2, Sun's JVM implementation has included a just-in-time compiler instead of an interpreter.
Although Java programs are platform independent, the code of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that execute these programs is not; every supported operating platform has its own JVM.