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T6. Garbage Collection: The Whole Truth

Tony Printezis, Sun Microsystems

Dr Tony Printezis is a Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems, located in Burlington, MA. He has been contributing to the Java HotSpot Virtual Machine, as well as the Java Real-Time System, since the beginning of 2006. Before that, he spent over 3 years at SunLabs. He spends most of his time working on dynamic memory management for the Java platform, concentrating on performance, scalability, responsiveness, parallelism, and visualization of garbage collectors. He joined Sun Microsystems in 2002 after a 2.5-year research collaboration, while he was a member of the faculty of the Department of Computing Science of the University of Glasgow. He obtained a PhD in 2000 and a BSc(Hons) in 1995, both from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Many still view Garbage Collection (aka GC) either as a magic wand or a stumbling block. This tutorial will attempt to shed some light on the inner workings of GC and will explain why GCs do some things in certain ways but why they cannot easily do some others.

The tutorial will first give an overview of the main concepts behind the operation of GC, cover the most popular GC techniques, and show their pros and cons. Second, it will debunk some popular myths about GC. Topics will include: "GC is faster than malloc", "the truth about reference counting", "destructors and GC don't get along", "the return of the memory leaks", "GC and free() will never marry", etc. Third, it will go over case studies of which GC algorithms are adopted by different products (like several production Java virtual machines, the .NET system, etc.).

Students will leave with a useful knowledge on how GC works and a better understanding of what are its strengths and limitations. These are skills that the students will be able to apply to their everyday work to take advantage of GC as much as possible and improve the performance and behavior of their applications.

Objectives:

To give to the students a useful knowledge on how GC works so that they can better understad of what are its strengths and limitations. These are skills that the students will be able to apply to their everyday work to take advantage of GC as much as possible.

Format:

Presentation with slides

Audience: Researchers, Practitioners
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