History of the BEAM Compiler

Before BEAM there was JAM (Joe’s Abstract Machine). BEAM and JAM were used alongside each other from the early versions of OTP up to and including OTP R5C.

Robert also had his own virtual machine called VEE (Virding’s Erlang Engine).

The following blog post from the OTP blog gives some more details about the early implementations of Erlang:

A Brief History of the BEAM Compiler


Thanks @bjorng that’s very informative - I have split your post into a new thread and added it to our list of sticky threads as well as created a new Erlang-faqs tag and added that too :003:

Also, for the benefit of everyone else, a little birdy recently told me that although the ‘B’ in BEAM was originally ‘Bogdan’, now it is very much ‘Björn’ :blush:

Thank you for all your hard work on OTP/the BEAM and welcome to the forum Björn :hearts:


Coincidentally I found this out yesterday only, while reading Elixir in Action, wherein the author says BEAM stands for Bogdan/Björn Erlang Abstract Machine. And I thought, “wait, that name sounds familiar… isnt that the guy who helped me with an Advent of Code problem on these forums…”.

Thank you for the hard work on OTP/BEAM !