Scalable distributed garbage collection for systems of active objects

Nalini Venkatasubramanian, Gul Agha, Carolyn Talcott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Automatic storage management is important in highly parallel programming environments where large numbers of objects and processes are being constantly created and discarded. Part of the difficulty with automatic garbage collection in Systems of active objects, such as actors, is that an active object may not be garbage if it has references to other reachable objects, even when no other object has references to R. This is because an actor may at some point communicate its mail address to a reachable object thereby making itself reachable. Because messages may be pending in the network ' the asynchrony of distributed networks makes it difficult to determine the current topology. Existing garbage collection schemes halt the computation process in order to determine if a currently inaccessible actor may be potentially active, thus precluding a real-time response by the system. We describe a generation based algorithm which does not require ongoing computation to be halted during garbage collection. We also outline an informal proof of the correctness of the algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMemory Management - International Workshop IWMM 1992, Proceedings
EditorsYves Bekkers, Jacques Cohen
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783540559405
StatePublished - 1992
EventInternational Workshop on Memory Management, IWMM 1992 - St. Malo, France
Duration: Sep 17 1992Sep 19 1992

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume637 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


OtherInternational Workshop on Memory Management, IWMM 1992
CitySt. Malo


  • Actors
  • Asynchrony
  • Broadcast and bulldoze communication
  • Distributed systems
  • Generation scavenging
  • Network clearance
  • Snapshot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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