Top Java Garbage Collector Interview Questions (2021) | CodeUsingJava








Most frequently asked Java Garbage Collector Interview Questions


  1. What is the structure of Java Heap?
  2. What is responsiblity of Garbage Collector?
  3. How is Garbage Collection managed?
  4. What are the Collection Roots?
  5. What is the difference between ParNew and DefNew Young Generation Garbage collector?
  6. What is the difference between Serial and Throughput Garbage collectors?
  7. What are the Different Types of GC?
  8. What are the Different Types of GC Algorithms?
  9. Is garbage collector a daemon thread?
  10. How can the Garbage Collection be requested?


What is the structure of Java Heap?

In Java, a heap is a chunk of memory which is shared among all threads. In a heap, all class instances and the array is allocated. It is created when JVM starts-up. An automatic storage management system reclaims heap.It may be of fixed and variable size. It does not need to be contiguous.


What is responsiblity of Garbage Collector?

Object creation is faster because global synchronization with the operating system is not needed for every single object. An allocation simply claims some portion of a memory array and moves the offset pointer forward (see Figure 2.1). The next allocation starts at this offset and claims the next portion of the array. When an object is no longer used, the garbage collector reclaims the underlying memory and reuses it for future object allocation. This means there is no explicit deletion and no memory is given back to the operating system.All objects are allocated on the heap area managed by the JVM. Every item that the developer uses is treated this way, including class objects, static variables, and even the code itself.

How is Garbage Collection managed?

The JVM controls the Garbage Collector; it decides when to run the Garbage Collector. JVM runs the Garbage Collector when it realizes that the memory is running low. The behavior of GC can be tuned by passing parameters to JVM. One can request the Garbage Collection to happen from within the java program but there is no guarantee that this request will be taken care of by jvm.

What are the Collection Roots?


Garbage Collector
Local variables are kept alive by the stack of a thread. This is not a real object virtual reference and thus is not visible. For all intents and purposes, local variables are GC roots.
Active Java threads are always considered live objects and are therefore GC roots. This is especially important for thread local variables.
Static variables are referenced by their classes. This fact makes them de facto GC roots. Classes themselves can be garbage-collected, which would remove all referenced static variables. This is of special importance when we use application servers, OSGi containers or class loaders in general. We will discuss the related problems in the Problem Patterns section.
JNI References are Java objects that the native code has created as part of a JNI call. Objects thus created are treated specially because the JVM does not know if it is being referenced by the native code or not.


What is the difference between ParNew and DefNew Young Generation Garbage collector?

ParNew and DefNew are two young generation garbage collector. ParNew is a multi-threaded GC used along with concurrent Mark Sweep while DefNew is single-threaded GC used along with Serial Garbage Collector.


What is the difference between Serial and Throughput Garbage collectors?

Serial Garbage collector is a stop the world GC which stops application thread from running during both minor and major collection. Serial Garbage collector can be enabled using JVM option -XX:UseSerialGC and it's designed for Java application which doesn't have pause time requirement and has client configuration.
The Serial Garbage collector also defaulted GC in JDK 1.4 before ergonomics was introduced in JDK 1.5. Serial GC is most suited for small applications with fewer threads while throughput GG is more suited for large applications. On the other hand Throughput garbage collector is a parallel collector where minor and major collection happens in parallel taking full advantage of all the system resources available like multiple processor.

What are the Different Types of GC?


Garbage Collector


What are the Different Types of GC Algorithms?

  • Serial: The serial collector uses a single thread to perform all garbage collection work. It is best-suited to single processor machines, because it cannot take advantage of multiprocessor hardware.
  • Parallel: The parallel collector (also known as the throughput collector) performs minor collections in parallel, which can significantly reduce garbage collection overhead. It is intended for applications with medium-sized to large-sized data sets that are run on multiprocessors or multithreaded hardware.
  • CMS: The mostly concurrent collector performs most of its work concurrently (for example, while the application is still running) to keep garbage collection pauses short. It is designed for applications with medium-sized to large-sized data sets in which response time is more important than overall throughput because the techniques used to minimize pauses can reduce application performance.
  • G1: G1 is the latest garbage collector, targeted for multi-processor machines with large memories. It meets garbage collection (GC) pause time goals with high probability, while achieving high throughput.

Is garbage collector a daemon thread?

Yes GC is a daemon thread. A daemon thread runs behind the application. It is started by JVM. The thread stops when all non-daemon threads stop.

How can the Garbage Collection be requested?

The methods to perform the garbage collections are present in the Runtime class provided by java. The Runtime class is a Singleton for each java main program. The method getRuntime() returns a singleton instance of the Runtime class. The method gc() can be invoked using this instance of Runtime to request the garbage collection.
Call the System class System.gc() method which will request the jvm to perform GC.