Technical Report Number
Computer Systems Organization, Computing Methodologies, Software
Dynamic memory management plays a crucial role in the development of large software systems. Traditional techniques for managing dynamic memory require the programmer to free an allocated object when it is no longer required. In addition to posing an intellectual burden on the programmer, this approach has often proved error-prone. Many bugs in existing software systems are known to be caused by dynamic memory management errors. Garbage collectors free the programmer from this intellectual burden by automatically reclaiming allocated objects that are no longer in use. In systems with garbage collection, the programmer need not concern himself with releasing objects no longer in use. Most traditional garbage collectors suspend the application program during the collection process. Generational garbage collectors are known to achieve short pause times as they rely on the observation that most objects die young. They concentrate most of their efforts in reclaiming recently allocated objects, occasionally performing a complete collection. In this project, we have implemented a generational garbage collector for C++ targeted to SPARC architectures. Our technique imposes only minor restrictions on the usage of dynamic memory in C++ and runs on stock hardware. * Portions of this paper were excerpted from "Code Generation to Support Efficient Accurate Garbage Collection of C++ on Stock Hardware", a paper currently being prepared for publication by Kelvin Nilsen, Ravichandran Ganesan, Satish Guggilla, Satish Kumar, and Kannan Narasimhan.