SIGPLAN Notices (ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages)

Java without the coffee breaks: A nonintrusive multiprocessor garbage collector

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The deployment of Java as a concurrent programming language has created a critical need for high-performance, concurrent, and incremental multiprocessor garbage collection. We present the Recycler, a fully concurrent pure reference counting garbage collector that we have implemented in the Jalapeño Java virtual machine running on shared memory multiprocessors. While a variety of multiprocessor collectors have been proposed and some have been implemented, experimental data is limited and there is little quantitative basis for comparison between different algorithms. We present measurements of the Recycler and compare it against a non-concurrent but parallel load-balancing mark-and-sweep collector (that we also implemented in Jalapeño), and evaluate the classical tradeoff between response time and throughput. When processor or memory resources are limited, the Recycler runs at about 90% of the speed of the mark-and-sweep collector. However, with an extra processor to run collection and with a moderate amount of memory headroom, the Recycler is able to operate without ever blocking the mutators and achieves a maximum measured mutator delay of only 2.6 milliseconds for our benchmarks. End-to-end execution time is usually within 5%. © 2001 ACM.