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Chapter 9 of Inside the Java Virtual Machine
Garbage Collection
by Bill Venners

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Adaptive Collectors

An adaptive garbage collection algorithm takes advantage of the fact that some garbage collection algorithms work better in some situations, while others work better in other situations. An adaptive algorithm monitors the current situation on the heap and adjusts its garbage collection technique accordingly. It may tweak the parameters of a single garbage collection algorithm as the program runs. It may switch from one algorithm to another on the fly. Or it may divide the heap into sub-heaps and use different algorithms on different sub-heaps simultaneously.

With an adaptive approach, designers of Java virtual machine implementations need not choose just one garbage collection technique. They can employ many techniques, giving each algorithm work for which it is best suited.

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