Experience with safe manual memory-management in cyclone

TitleExperience with safe manual memory-management in cyclone
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHicks MW, Morrisett G, Grossman D, Jim T
Conference NameProceedings of the 4th international symposium on Memory management
Date Published2004///
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number1-58113-945-4
Keywordscyclone, Memory management, memory safety, regions, unique pointers

The goal of the Cyclone project is to investigate type safety for low-level languages such as C. Our most difficult challenge has been providing programmers control over memory management while retaining type safety. This paper reports on our experience trying to integrate and effectively use two previously proposed, type-safe memory management mechanisms: statically-scoped regions and unique pointers. We found that these typing mechanisms can be combined to build alternative memory-management abstractions, such as reference counted objects and arenas with dynamic lifetimes, and thus provide a flexible basis. Our experience---porting C programs and building new applications for resource-constrained systems---confirms that experts can use these features to improve memory footprint and sometimes to improve throughput when used instead of, or in combination with, conservative garbage collection.