The Java Source

Java Champion Dick Wall on Genetics, the Java Posse, and Alternative Languages (Part One)

February 2, 2012 By: Janice Heiss

In Part One of a two-part interview, titled “Java Champion Dick Wall on Genetics, the Java Posse, and Alternative Languages (Part One),” Java Champion and Java Posse member Dick Wall explores the potential of genetic analysis to enhance human health, shares observations about alternative languages for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and reveals inside dope on the Java Posse. Wall admits to learning from Brian Goetz, Java language architect at Oracle, that pretty much everything he thought he knew about optimizing for the JVM was wrong, and discusses not only his current work using Scala to enhance our capacity to gain knowledge of our genetic vulnerabilities, but shares what he has learned about his own genetic challenges. In addition, he recounts some adventures with the Java Posse.

From the interview:

“…when I started working in Scala, I was worried that lots of extra immutable objects, which are created when you use immutable data often, would result in a lot more work for the garbage collector. After talking with Brian about it, I realized that, in fact, the opposite is often or usually true. Short-lived, immutable objects usually exist in a special part of the JVM’s memory referred to as Eden. Releasing the memory back to the pool from there is almost without cost. It is only longer-lived objects that get promoted to the JVM main heap that are expensive to garbage collect. So lots of small, short-lived objects can actually help the garbage collector out. There are other ways immutability can help or hurt performance, but ultimately, I decided to code for style and correctness first and worry about performance if and when it becomes an issue.”

Read the interview here.

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