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10.4 Garbage collection

All the number classes are reference count classes: They only contain a pointer to an object in the heap. Upon construction, assignment and destruction of number objects, only the objects’ reference count are manipulated.

Memory occupied by number objects are automatically reclaimed as soon as their reference count drops to zero.

For number rings, another strategy is implemented: There is a cache of, for example, the modular integer rings. A modular integer ring is destroyed only if its reference count dropped to zero and the cache is about to be resized. The effect of this strategy is that recently used rings remain cached, whereas undue memory consumption through cached rings is avoided.

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