Cast not your Perl before swine?

Levi Pearson levi at
Mon Dec 17 15:38:20 MST 2007

"Bryan Sant" <bryan.sant at> writes:

> No doubt that these situations exist.  That of a person not allowing
> the GC to allocate enough memory to be efficient.  However, needing
> double the heap size sounds like severely outdated information to me.
> This article is pretty old, but even it disagrees with the literature
> you mention.

I've read that page before, too.  It's pretty vague and hand-wavy, and
provides no real statistics, but it does give some good information
about how the JVM has improved.  Anyway, you made me go look up the
paper I had read before.  You can find a link to the pdf/ps file here: .

The paper was published in 2005, so it's fairly recent, and it was
performed with Java.  It is far less hand-wavy, contains real
experimental data, and also explains that things are worse than I had
said earlier.  With 3x the heap space, it runs 17% slower than with
explicit memory management.  With only 2x the heap space, it runs 70%
slower.  When you start interacting with the OS's paging subsystem,
you get order of magnitude performance drops in comparison with
explicit management.

I'm a big fan of garbage collection, but it does have a significant
cost in the space efficiency of programs.  I'd like to see further
research done into other schemes, like region-based memory management,
that reduce the space cost when such an optimization is needed, such
as in embedded systems.


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