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Garbage collection (GC) is a dynamic approach to automatic memory management and heap allocation that processes and identifies dead memory blocks and reallocates storage for reuse. The primary purpose of garbage collection is to reduce memory leaks.
GC implementation requires three primary approaches, as follows:
Some programming languages and platforms with built-in GC (e.g., Java, Lisp, C# and .Net) self-manage memory leaks, allowing for more efficient programming.
Garbage collection's dynamic approach to automatic heap allocation addresses common and costly errors that often result in real world program defects when undetected.
Because they are difficult to identify and repair, allocation errors are costly. Thus, garbage collection is considered by many to be an essential language feature that makes the programmer’s job easier with lower manual heap allocation management. However, GC is not perfect, and the following drawbacks should be considered: