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In the official java tutorial we can read:

However, advances in compiler and virtual machine technologies are bringing performance close to that of native code without threatening portability.

I have two questions:

1) Why the definite article was not used with "advances" ("the advances")? We are talking about advances in specified fields, not, for example, about advances in biology.

2) Finally, why the definite article was not used with "compiler and virtual machine technologies" ("the compiler and virtual machine technologies")? Again, we are talking about specified (by an adjective) technologies.

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About your first question: You did actually answer yourself; you said:

We are talking about advances in specified fields, not, for example, about advances in biology.

Why didn't you add the article "the" although you were talking about some specific fields advances, in the first time? And about a particular field, in the second time?

The answer is simple: You specified what you were talking about that there wasn't a need for an article to define the two nouns when they have already been defined by what had followed them.

  • The same is applied to your main sentence.

About your second question:

... in compiler and virtual machine technologies

If we were to add "the" before those two words, or at least before "compiler" which would refer to "virtual machine technologies" as well because of the conjunction "and", then it would be understood that we are talking about a particular group of compiler and VM technologies.

Without the article, it is understood as their preceding sentence is about compiler and VM technologies in general, not ones with some features and properties that have been mentioned/defined before. Otherwise, adding "the" would be necessary.

For example:

Recently, some new virtual machine technologies have arisen. They are more efficient and productive than those regular ones as they have many unique features like: (the features are mentioned here). We predict that the virtual machine technologies will be introduced to the VM community soon.

I used "the" as I'm only referring to the VM technologies with the new, unique features, not all the VM technologies in the world.

  • I don't agree with the sentence: "You specified what you were talking about that there wasn't a need for an article to define the two nouns when they have already been defined by what had followed them". In "the book on the table" we have to use "the" before "table", though the noun has already been defined by what had followed it, the same in "the book in the room". – piter00 Mar 1 at 12:23
  • * before "book" – piter00 Mar 1 at 12:38
  • There are many situations where we should add articles before nouns, I have just mentioned the ones that fit your case. About "the book on the table", the article before "book" indicates a specific book that happened to be on a known table in that place. Thus, it is not any book, nor it is on any table but that book on that table. The same goes for "the book in the room". – Tasneem ZH Mar 1 at 13:11
  • So I could have written "the advances in compiler and virtual machine technologies" if I had meant more specific advances, for example, the advances in the current year? – piter00 Mar 1 at 13:29
  • Absolutely. If you are neither intending all the advances in compiler and VM technologies nor you are talking about them in general but some of them with particular properties, then use the article "the". However, you have to define/introduce them before using it, so the readers can know which compiler and VM you are intending by "the". – Tasneem ZH Mar 1 at 14:19

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