Gated Memory Control for Memory Monitoring, Leak Detection and Garbage Collection

Chen Ding, Chengliang Zhang, Xipeng Shen, and Mitsunori Ogihara


In the past, program monitoring often operates at the code level, performing checks at function and loop boundaries. Recent research shows that profiling analysis can identify high-level phases in complex binary code. Examples are time steps in scientific simulations and service cycles in utility programs. Because of their larger size and more predictable behavior, program phases make it possible for more accurate and longer term predictions of program behavior, especially its memory usage. This paper describes a new approach that uses phase boundaries as the gates to monitor and control the memory usage. In particular, it presents three techniques: memory usage monitoring, object lifetime classification, and preventive memory management. They use phase-level patterns to predict the trend of the program's memory demand, identify and control memory leaks, improve the efficiency of garbage collection. The potential of the new techniques is demonstrated on two non-trivial applications---a C compiler and a Lisp interpreter.
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