The Memory Management Glossary

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This glossary is divided into pages by initial letter. Select the letter you are interested in, or select a term. Alternatively, there is the complete glossary as one document [392 kB], more suitable for printing.

Our aim is for these entries to be accurate, comprehensible, and useful, and also to have an entry for all common memory management terms. If you can't find the term you're looking for, if our definition doesn't help you, or if you'd like to suggest corrections or additions, please let us know via our feedback page.

For an explanation of the structure of the entries, and information on how to link to definitions, please see the glossary help page.


A absolute address
activation frame
activation record
activation stack
active
address
address space
address translation cache
address-ordered first fit
aging space
algebraic data type
alignment
alive
allocate
allocation mechanism
allocation policy
allocation strategy
allocator
ambiguous reference
ambiguous root
arena
ATC
atomic object
automatic memory management
automatic storage duration
B backing store
barrier(1)
barrier(2)
base pointer
best fit
BIBOP
big bag of pages
binary buddies
bit-table
bitmap
bitmapped fit
black
blacklisting
block
bounds error
boxed
break-table
brk
broken heart
bucket
buddy system
buffer
bus error
byte(1)
byte(2)
byte(3)
byte(4)
C cache(1)
cache(2)
cache memory
cache policy
caching(3)
cactus stack
card
card marking
cell
Cheney collector
Cheney scan
closure
coalesce
collect
collection
collection cycle
collector(1)
collector(2)
color
committed
compactifying
compaction
composite object
comprehensive
concurrent garbage collection
condemned set
connected
cons(1)
cons(2)
conservative garbage collection
constructor(1)
constructor(2)
continuation
control stack
copying garbage collection
core
creation space
crossing map
cyclic data structure
D dangling pointer
data stack
dead
deallocate
deferred coalescing
deferred reference counting
derived pointer
destructor(1)
destructor(2)
DGC
direct method
dirty bit
distributed garbage collection
double buddies
double free
doubleword
DRAM
dynamic allocation
dynamic extent
dynamic memory
dynamic RAM
E edge
entry table(1)
entry table(2)
exact garbage collection
exact reference
exact root
exact segregated fit
execution stack
exit table
extent
external fragmentation
F fencepost
fencepost error
Fibonacci buddies
FIFO-ordered first fit
file mapping
finalization
first fit
flip
floating garbage
format
forwarding pointer
fragmentation
frame
free(1)
free(2)
free(3)
free(4)
free block
free block chain
free list
free store
freestore
function record
G garbage
garbage collection
garbage collector
GB
GC
General Protection Fault
generation
generation scavenging
generational garbage collection
generational hypothesis
gigabyte
good fit
GPF
grain
graph
gray
gray list
H handle
header
heap
heap allocation
hit
hit rate
I immediate data
immune set
immutable
immutable object
in-band header
incremental garbage collection
incremental-update
indefinite extent
indexed fit
indirect method
infant mortality
inter-generational pointer
interior pointer
internal fragmentation
invalid page fault
inverted page table
K kB
key object
kilobyte
L large object area
leaf object
leak
life
lifetime
LIFO-ordered first fit
limited-field reference count
linear addressing
live
load
locality of reference
location
logical address
longword
M machine word
main memory
malloc
manual memory management
mapped
mapping
mark-compact
mark-sweep
marking
MB
megabyte
memoization
memory(1)
memory(2)
memory(3)
memory(4)
memory bandwidth
memory cache
memory hierarchy
memory leak
memory location
memory management
Memory Management Unit
memory manager
memory mapping
memory protection
misaligned
miss
miss rate
mmap
MMU
mostly-copying garbage collection
mostly-exact garbage collection
mostly-precise garbage collection
moving garbage collector
moving memory manager
mutable
mutator
N natural alignment
nepotism
next fit
node
nursery generation
nursery space
O object
off-white
one-bit reference count
out-of-band header
overcommit
overwriting error
P padding
page
page fault
page marking
page protection
page table
paged in
paged out
paging
palimpsest
parallel garbage collection
perfect fit
phantom reachable
phantom reference
physical address
physical address space
physical memory(1)
physical memory(2)
physical storage
pig in the python
pig in the snake
placement policy
pointer
precise garbage collection
precise reference
precise root
premature free
premature promotion
premature tenuring
primary storage
promotion
protection
protection exception
protection fault
protection violation
Q quadword
R RAM
raw
reachable
read barrier
read fault
real memory(1)
real memory(2)
reclaim
recycle
reference
reference counting
reference object
region inference
register
register set partitioning
relocation
remembered set
replicating garbage collector
reserved
resident
resident set
ROM
root
root set
S sbrk
scalar data type
scan
scavenging garbage collection
SDRAM
segmentation violation
segmented addressing
segregated fit
segregated free list
semi-conservative garbage collection
semi-space
semi-space collector
sequential fit
sequential store buffer
shared memory
simple object
simple segregated storage
smart pointer
snap-out
snapshot-at-the-beginning
soft reference
softly reachable
space leak
spaghetti stack
split
SRAM
SSB
stack
stack allocation
stack frame
stack record
static allocation
static memory(1)
static memory(2)
static object
static RAM
static storage duration
sticky reference count
storage
storage hierarchy
storage level
storage management
store(1)
store(2)
strict segregated fit
strong reference
strong root
strong tri-color invariant
strongly reachable
suballocator
subgraph
sure reference
swap space
swapped in
swapped out
swapping
sweeping
T tabling
tag
tagged architecture
TB(1)
TB(2)
tenuring
terabyte
termination
thrash
threatened set
TLB
trace
tracing garbage collection
translation buffer
transport
transport snap-out
treadmill
tri-color invariant
tri-color marking
two-space collector
type-accurate garbage collection
U unaligned
unboxed
undead
unmapped
unreachable
unsure reference
unwrapped
use after free
V value object
value type
vector data type
virtual address
virtual address space
virtual memory(1)
VM(1)
VM(2)
W weak reference(1)
weak reference(2)
weak root
weak tri-color invariant
weakly reachable
weighted buddies
weighted reference counting
white
word
working set
worst fit
wrapped
wrapper
write barrier
write fault
Z ZCT
zero count table

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