Simple generational garbage collection and fast allocation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Generational garbage collection algorithms achieve efficiency because newer records point to older records; the only way an older record can point to a newer record is by a store operation to a previously created record, and such operations are rare in many languages. A garbage collector that concentrates just on recently allocated records can take advantage of this fact. Such a garbage collector can be so efficient that the allocation of records costs more than their disposal. A scheme for quick record allocation attacks this bottleneck. Many garbage‐collected environments do not know when to ask the operating system for more memory. A robust heuristic solves this problem. This paper presents a simple, efficient, low‐overhead version of generational garbage collection with fast allocation, suitable for implementation in a Unix environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalSoftware: Practice and Experience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


  • Dynamic memory allocation
  • Garbage collection


Dive into the research topics of 'Simple generational garbage collection and fast allocation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this