[erlang-questions] clarify: Process Garbage Collection

Ulf Wiger <>
Sun Dec 23 19:33:36 CET 2007


The process will have a reference to itself, and has an independent
thread. If the thread of execution terminates, either through an
explicit exit() (or error()), or if a function returns rather than
calling another function, or recursively calling itself, then the
process is garbage collected, even if there happen to be
other processes holding references to the pid.

BR,
Ulf W

2007/12/23, Martin Beck <>:
> Hi,
> while digging through some Erlang and Actor Model documentation I came
> to the question whether unused processes will be garbage collected. E.g.
> a process I don't have any reference to anymore and which is blocked
> waiting for messages, will it sit around in my ram or will it get
> deleted by the Erlang VM?
>
> The paper which leaded me to this question was "Garbage collection of
> actors" by Kafura, Washabaugh, Nelson 1990.
>
> regards,
> Martin
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