reference counting


Also found in: Wikipedia.

reference counting

(programming)
A garbage collection technique where each memory cell contains a count of the number of other cells which point to it. If this count reaches zero the cell is freed and its pointers to other cells are followed to decrement their counts, and so on recursively.

This technique cannot cope with circular data structures. Cells in such structures refer (indirectly) to themselves and so will never have a zero reference count. This means they would never be reclaimed, even when there are no references from outside the structure.
References in periodicals archive ?
Now Delphi Data Access Components can be universally used when developing DB-applications using Automatic Reference Counting or any other features of the new NEXTGEN compiler.
The book walks through the development of a complete application, from user interface to submitting the app to the iTunes App Store, focusing on the tools of automatic reference counting, storyboards, iCloud storage, Xcode, iOS simulator, and instruments.
The counting accuracy and linearity of the Muse Cell Analyzer was verified by measuring its ability to provide counts on multiple dilutions of reference counting beads.
A simple reference counting garbage collection scheme can be used to ensure that resources are freed at the correct time.
The IUnknown interface consists of three methods: AddRef () and Release (), which implement reference counting and control the lifetime of interfaces; and QueryInterface, which by specifying an IID allows a carer to retrieve references to the different interfaces the component implements.
COM programmers are responsible for entering and leaving the COM environment, instantiating and reference counting COM objects, querying objects for version information, coding to take advantage of advanced object versions, and coding graceful degradation of function when newer versions aren't available.
The formula could also be used instead of "reference counting with aging" in order to implement a variant of the Reference-Counting policy.
Using reference counting to collect garbage in a persistent system is problematic for two reasons.
9.1.5 Transactional Cyclic Reference Counting. In contrast to the previously described approaches that use tracing, Ashwin et al.
Additional Key Words and Phrases: Automatic storage reclamation, distributed object-oriented management, distributed file systems, distributed memories, memory management, network communication, distributed, object-oriented databases, reference counting
Direct identification of garbage (also called reference counting) identifies cells that have no references to them.
In Choices, we built a class library to augment the language to include first-class Classes, dynamic loading, reference counting, debugging, and proxies--representatives of indirectly accessible objects.