Skip to main content

Beltway: Getting Around Garbage Collection Gridlock

Blackburn, Stephen M. and Jones, Richard and McKinley, Kathryn S. and Moss, J. Eliot B. (2002) Beltway: Getting Around Garbage Collection Gridlock. In: Hendren, Laurie J., ed. Proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN 2002 conference on Programming language design and implementation. ACM, New York, USA, pp. 153-164. ISBN 1-58113-463-0. (doi:10.1145/512529.512548) (KAR id:13782)

Language: English
Download (462kB) Preview
[thumbnail of]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Language: English
Download (127kB) Preview
[thumbnail of BeltwayS1.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


We present the design and implementation of a new garbage collection framework that significantly generalizes existing copying collectors. The Beltway framework exploits and separates object age and incrementality. It groups objects in one or more increments on queues called belts, collects belts independently, and collects increments on a belt in first-in-first-out order. We show that Beltway configurations, selected by command line options, act and perform the same as semi-space, generational, and older-first collectors, and encompass all previous copying collectors of which we are aware. The increasing reliance on garbage collected languages such as Java requires that the collector perform well. We show that the generality of Beltway enables us to design and implement new collectors that are robust to variations in heap size and improve total execution time over the best generational copying collectors of which we are aware by up to 40%, and on average by 5 to 10%, for small to moderate heap sizes. New garbage collection algorithms are rare, and yet we define not just one, but a new family of collectors that subsumes previous work. This generality enables us to explore a larger design space and build better collectors.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1145/512529.512548
Uncontrolled keywords: Beltway, copying garbage collection, generational garbage collection, Java
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Richard Jones
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2008 18:00 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:51 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Jones, Richard:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year