Java Development Kit (JDK)
The JDK is a superset of the JRE, and contains everything that is in the JRE, plus tools such as the compilers and debuggers necessary for developing applets and applications.
Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) provides the libraries, the Java Virtual Machine, and other components to run applets and applications written in the Java programming language. In addition, two key deployment technologies are part of the JRE: Java Plug-in, which enables applets to run in popular browsers; and Java Web Start, which deploys standalone applications over a network. It is also the foundation for the technologies in the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) for enterprise software development and deployment. The JRE does not contain tools and utilities such as compilers or debuggers for developing applets and applications.
Java Virtual Machine
The Java Virtual Machine is responsible for the hardware- and operating system-independence of the Java SE platform, the small size of compiled code (bytecodes), and platform security.