Parallelizing symbol table/string table scan

Coleen Phillimore coleen.phillimore at
Mon Nov 11 07:53:07 PST 2013

On 11/11/2013 08:56 AM, Thomas Schatzl wrote:
> Hi all,
>    recently we (the gc team) noticed severe performance issues with
> symbol table and string table scan during remark.
> Basically, in G1 these pauses are the largest pauses on a reasonably
> tuned system. Also, in particular, symbol table scan alone takes 50% of
> total remark time. String table scan takes another 13%.

Why do you scan the symbol table during remark?   It doesn't contain any 

Now I'll read the rest...

> At least symbol table scan is a pretty big issue.
> The simple approach to those is to parallelize these tasks of course,
> however I would like to query you for comments or suggestions :)
> (I am simply throwing some ideas on the wall, in the hope something
> sticks...)
> One idea that came up to optimize that further has been to not do string
> table or symbol table scrubbing after gc at all if no class unloading
> has been done, assuming that the amount of dead entries are zero anyway.
> This is (imo) true for the string table at least (because they are
> strong roots if not doing class unloading), but I am not so sure about
> the symbol table.
> You probably have more experience about the use of the symbol table, so
> any ideas what could cause symbol table entries to get stale other than
> class unloading, and if so, is this a big concern?
> Another option would be to do this symbol table scrubbing only after a
> certain amount of operations on the symbols, not sure if there is an
> indicator (that does not decrease perf for retrieving too much) for
> that.
> Another idea, again for the symbol table is to scrub it either
> incrementally (eg. depending on available time), or concurrently. I.e.
> some background task periodically waking up and scrubbing (parts of) the
> symbol table.
> Comments, suggestions?
> I also created a few RFEs for these issues, see
> Symbol table:
> String table:
> Thomas

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