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A Study of the Scalability of Stop-the-World Garbage Collectors on Multicores

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Executive Summary

Large-scale multicore architectures create new challenges for Garbage Collectors (GCs). In particular, throughput-oriented stop-the-world algorithms demonstrate good performance with a small number of cores, but have been shown to degrade badly beyond approximately 8 cores on a 48-core with OpenJDK 7. This negative result raises the question whether the stop-the-world design has intrinsic limitations that would require a radically different approach. The authors' study suggests that the answer is no, and that there is no compelling scalability reason to discard the existing highly-optimised throughput-oriented GC code on contemporary hardware. This paper studies the default throughput-oriented garbage collector of OpenJDK 7, called Parallel Scavenge.

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