The Automated Garbage Collection Process

This section a tutorial example on how to find out when the garbage collector automatically performing the garbage collection process.

To understand when the JVM will ask the garbage collector to perform the garbage collection process, I wrote the following tutorial example to run a loop of many steps. In each step, a new 1-MB object is created and an old 1-MB object is freed up, except for the first 32 steps:

/* GarbageCollection.java
 - Copyright (c) 2014, HerongYang.com, All Rights Reserved.
 */
class GarbageCollection {
   public static void main(String[] a) {
      int steps = 10000;
      int size = 32;
      Object[] queue = new Object[size];
      Runtime rt = Runtime.getRuntime();
      System.out.println("Memory: Maximum   Total   Free   Used");
      for (int m=0; m<steps; m++) {
         for (int n=0; n<size-1; n++) 
            queue[size-n-1] = queue[size-n-2];
         queue[0] = getOneMega();
         System.out.println(m+"   "+rt.maxMemory()
            +"   "+rt.totalMemory()+"   "+rt.freeMemory()
            +"   "+(rt.totalMemory()-rt.freeMemory()));
         try {
            Thread.sleep(1000/10);
         } catch (InterruptedException e) {
            System.out.println("Interreupted...");
         }
      }
   }
   private static Object getOneMega() {
      return new long[1024*128]; // 1MB
   }
}

Note that:

Running this sample program with JDK 1.6, I got the following output:

Memory: 
      Maximum      Total       Free       Used
 0   66650112    5177344    3948480    1228864
 1   66650112    5177344    2899888    2277456
 2   66650112    5177344    1832880    3344464
 3   66650112    6410240    2087472    4322768   //Total increased
 4   66650112    6410240    1038880    5371360
 5   66650112    9908224    3488272    6419952   //Total increased
 6   66650112    9908224    2439680    7468544
 7   66650112    9908224    1391088    8517136
 8   66650112   15347712    5778048    9569664   //Total increased
 9   66650112   15347712    4740368   10607344
10   66650112   15347712    3695672   11652040
11   66650112   15347712    2649648   12698064
12   66650112   15347712    1602736   13744976
13   66650112   15347712     555248   14792464
14   66650112   26546176   10708152   15838024   //Total increased
15   66650112   26546176    9659648   16886528
16   66650112   26546176    8611056   17935120
17   66650112   26546176    7562464   18983712
18   66650112   26546176    6513872   20032304
19   66650112   26546176    5465280   21080896
20   66650112   26546176    4416688   22129488
21   66650112   26546176    3368096   23178080
22   66650112   26546176    2319504   24226672
23   66650112   26546176    1270912   25275264
24   66650112   45334528   19010672   26323856   //Total increased
25   66650112   45334528   17962080   27372448
26   66650112   45334528   16913488   28421040
27   66650112   45334528   15864896   29469632
28   66650112   45334528   14816304   30518224
29   66650112   45334528   13767712   31566816
30   66650112   45334528   12719120   32615408
31   66650112   45334528   11670528   33664000
32   66650112   45334528   10621936   34712592
33   66650112   45334528    9573344   35761184
34   66650112   45334528    8524752   36809776
35   66650112   45334528    7476160   37858368
36   66650112   45334528    6427568   38906960
37   66650112   45334528    5378976   39955552
38   66650112   45334528    4330384   41004144
39   66650112   45334528    3281792   42052736
40   66650112   45334528    2233200   43101328
41   66650112   45334528    1184608   44149920
42   66650112   58486784   24822784   33664000   //Total increased
                                                 //Garbage collected
43   66650112   58486784   23774192   34712592
44   66650112   58486784   22725600   35761184
45   66650112   58486784   21677008   36809776
46   66650112   58486784   20628416   37858368
47   66650112   58486784   19579824   38906960
48   66650112   58486784   18531232   39955552
49   66650112   58486784   17482640   41004144
50   66650112   58486784   16434048   42052736
51   66650112   58486784   15385456   43101328
52   66650112   58486784   14336864   44149920
53   66650112   58486784   13288272   45198512
54   66650112   58486784   12239680   46247104
55   66650112   58486784   11191088   47295696
56   66650112   58486784   10142496   48344288
57   66650112   58486784    9093904   49392880
58   66650112   58486784    8045312   50441472
59   66650112   58486784    6996720   51490064
60   66650112   58486784    5948128   52538656
61   66650112   58486784    4899536   53587248
62   66650112   58486784    3850944   54635840
63   66650112   58486784   24822784   33664000   //Garbage collected
...

Several notes about the output:

Last update: 2014.

Table of Contents

 About This Book

 Installing JDK 1.8 on Windows

 Execution Process, Entry Point, Input and Output

 Primitive Data Types and Literals

 Bits, Bytes, Bitwise and Shift Operations

 Managing Bit Strings in Byte Arrays

 Reference Data Types and Variables

 StringBuffer - The String Buffer Class

 System Properties and Runtime Object Methods

 Generic Classes and Parameterized Types

 Generic Methods and Type Inference

 Lambda Expressions and Method References

 Execution Threads and Multi-Threading Java Programs

 ThreadGroup Class and "system" ThreadGroup Tree

 Synchronization Technique and Synchronized Code Blocks

 Deadlock Condition Example Programs

Garbage Collection and the gc() Method

 Garbage Collection and Unused Objects

The Automated Garbage Collection Process

 gc() - The Garbage Collection Method

 Example Program of Using the gc() Method

 Outdated Tutorials

 References

 PDF Printing Version