HP's Dynamo

Dynamic optimization refers to the runtime optimization of a native program binary. This paper describes the design and implementation of Dynamo, a prototype dynamic optimizer that is capable of optimizing a native program binary at runtime... Contrary to intuition, we demonstrate that it is possible to use a piece of software to improve the performance of a native, statically optimized program binary, while it is executing. Dynamo not only speeds up real application programs, its performance improvement is often quite significant. For example, the performance of many +O2 optimized SPECint95 binaries running under Dynamo is comparable to the performance of their +O4 optimized version running without Dynamo.

I think Dynamo is pretty well known, but in the light of the Apple switch to x86, it offers perspective on the possibility of using JIT compilation to translate binaries.

The application to programming languages is also straightforward.