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A Customisable Memory Management Framework

Giuseppe Attardi and Tito Flagella
Dipartimento di Informatica
Universita` di Pisa
Corso Italia 40
I-56125 Pisa, Italy


Memory management is a critical issue for many large object-oriented applications, but in C++ only explicit memory reclamation through the delete operator is generally available. We analyse different possibilities for memory management in C++ and present a dynamic memory management framework which can be customised to the need of specific applications. The framework allows full integration and coexistence of different memory management techniques. The Customisable Memory Management (CMM) is based on a primary collector which exploits an evolution of Bartlett's mostly copying garbage collector. Specialised collectors can be built for separate memory heaps. A Heap class encapsulates the allocation strategy for each heap. We show how to emulate different garbage collection styles or user-specific memory management techniques. The CMM is implemented in C++ without any special support in the language or the compiler. The techniques used in the CMM are general enough to be applicable also to other languages.

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