How does mark and sweep work? — (In Java) Perform a DFS on the graph of references to objects. This graph can have multiple roots. Each root is a reference that the program can access directly, such as a variable. Traverse the graph, setting a mark bit in each object. The sweep phase causes unmarked memory to be linked together in a list, so that memory can be reallocated. Sometimes this also triggers compaction, which moves used objects adjacent to each other in memory. The side effect of this is that free memory is also adjacent to free memory so large blocks can be allocated.