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Stopless: A Real-Time Garbage Collector for Modern Platforms

Filip Pizlo, Daniel Frampton, Erez Petrank and Bjarne Steensgaard

The 2007 International Symposium on Memory Management (ISMM 2007)
Montreal, Canada, 21-22 October, 2007


We present STOPLESS: a concurrent real-time garbage collector suitable for modern multiprocessors running parallel multithreaded applications. Creating a garbage-collected environment that supports real-time on modern platforms is notoriously hard, especially if real-time implies lock-freedom. Known real-time collectors either restrict the real-time guarantees to uniprocessors only, rely on special hardware, or just give up supporting atomic operations (which are crucial for lock-free software). STOPLESS is the first collector that supports it all: real-time responsiveness is provided, atomic operations are supported, lock-freedom is preserved, fragmentation is controlled by compaction, and modern parallel platforms are supported. STOPLESS is adequate for modern languages such as C# or Java. It was implemented on top of the Bartok compiler and runtime for C# and measurements demonstrate high responsiveness (a factor of a 100 better than previously published systems), virtually no pause times, good mutator utilization, and acceptable overheads.

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