Ibis: a flexible and efficient Java-based Grid programming environment. In computational Grids, performance-hungry applications need to simultaneously tap the computational power of multiple, dynamically available sites. The crux of designing Grid programming environments stems exactly from the dynamic availability of compute cycles: Grid programming environments (a) need to be portable to run on as many sites as possible, (b) they need to be flexible to cope with different network protocols and dynamically changing groups of compute nodes, while (c) they need to provide efficient (local) communication that enables high-performance computing in the first place. Existing programming environments are either portable (Java), or flexible (Jini, Java Remote Method Invocation or (RMI)), or they are highly efficient (Message Passing Interface). No system combines all three properties that are necessary for Grid computing. In this paper, we present Ibis, a new programming environment that combines Java’s ‘run everywhere’ portability both with flexible treatment of dynamically available networks and processor pools, and with highly efficient, object-based communication. Ibis can transfer Java objects very efficiently by combining streaming object serialization with a zero-copy protocol. Using RMI as a simple test case, we show that Ibis outperforms existing RMI implementations, achieving up to nine times higher throughputs with trees of objects. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.