[gclist] Sharing GC resources between applications

Robin Boerdijk robin_boerdijk at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 18 05:52:11 PST 2005


I have a few questions about GC technology which requires a bit of
introduction, so please bare with me.

What I have noticed is that more and more applications are being
written for the Java and .NET platforms. Assuming this trend continues,
users will soon want to run several Java and/or .NET based applications
simultaneously, as they are currently doing with their existing

I have also noticed that Java and .NET based applications require a lot
of system resources, among which memory for their garbage collected
heaps. My concern is that all these simultaneously used garbage
collected heaps constitute a very inefficient use of memory, especially
if the applications involved process large objects such as documents
(HTML, XML, PDF), spreadsheats, etc.

My questions are:

1. Is this a valid concern?

2. Is there any research activity going on to address this concern?

3. What could be a potential solution for this problem? For example:
Would it be possible to share a single garbage collected heap between
processes? Or could garbage collectors in separate processes be made to
communicate so that one would free up some memory for use by the other?

Any answers/views/pointers appreciated.

Robin Boerdijk

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