Author Archives: Richard Startin

Garbage Collector Code Artifacts: Card Marking

In the JVM, lots of evidence of garbage collection mechanics can be seen from JIT compiler output. This may be obvious if you think of garbage collection as a task of book-keeping: the various auxiliary data structures used to track inter-region or inter-generational references, relied on for faster marking, need to be kept up to

Parallel Bitmap Aggregation

A bitmap index represents predicates over records as sets consisting of the integer identities of each record satisfying each predicate. This representation is actually a few decades out of date, and systems like Pilosa use much more sophisticated data structures, and Sybase had even more on offer back in the 90s. But the chances are,

Collecting Rocks and Benchmarks

As long as I can remember, I have been interested in rocks, I have hundreds of them in storage. Rocks are interesting because they hold little clues about processes nobody has ever seen happen. For instance, one of the first rocks I ever took an interest in was a smooth granite pebble, which I collected

Population Count in Java

How do you count the bits in a 32 bit integer? Since this is possible in a single instruction, popcntd, which is exposed by an intrinsic method in Java and several other languages, this is a completely academic question. Nevertheless, however futile, deriving an efficient expression is instructive. A naive approach would be to check

Floating Point: Manual Unrolling or Autovectorisation?

Java is very strict about floating point arithmetic. There’s even a keyword, strictfp, which allows you to make it stricter, ensuring you’ll get a potentially less precise but identical result wherever you run your program. There’s actually a JEP to make this the only behaviour. JLS 15.18.2 states clearly that floating point addition is not