Data structure aware garbage collector

Nachshon Cohen, Erez Petrank

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Garbage collection may benefit greatly from knowledge about program behavior, but most managed languages do not provide means for the programmer to deliver such knowledge. In this work we propose a very simple interface that requires minor programmer effort and achieves substantial performance and scalability improvements. In particular, we focus on the common use of data structures or collections for organizing data on the heap. We let the program notify the collector which classes represent nodes of data structures and also when such nodes are being removed from their data structures. The data-structure aware (DSA) garbage collector uses this information to improve performance, locality, and load balancing. Experience shows that this interface requires a minor modification of the application. Measurements show that for some significant benchmarks this interface can dramatically reduce the time spent on garbage collection and also improve the overall program performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISMM 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM SIGPLAN International Symposium on Memory Management, co-located with PLDI 2015
EditorsMichael Bond, Antony L. Hosking
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335898
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2015
Event14th ACM SIGPLAN International Symposium on Memory Management, ISMM 2015 - Portland, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 2015 → …

Publication series

NameInternational Symposium on Memory Management, ISMM


Conference14th ACM SIGPLAN International Symposium on Memory Management, ISMM 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period14/06/15 → …


  • Collections
  • Data structures
  • Memory management
  • Memory management interface
  • Parallel garbage collection

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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