Re: Memory leak in Radar App

Hi Don,

Thanks for that.

Don Murray wrote:

Hi James-

Thanks for the test program.  We find that images (radar
and satellite) use a lot of memory that doesn't seem to
get released.  We've always figured it was something down
in Java 3D (after some brief profiling).  One of our
next projects will be to nail this down more.

Here are some observations:

- when you call setSample on the FieldImpl, use the
method with a copy signature and pass in copy=false.
Otherwise a copy of your FlatField is made.  Only do
this if you are not changing the values underneath
on the original FlatField for each timestep.  Do you
do this with your original app?  Using that signature
in the RadarMemoryTest really speeds up the test!

Right, it sure does. Looks like our Radar app uses copy=false in some places, but not everywhere. Will have a look at that.

- when I run this using copy=false, my max heap
gets up to 89 mb and then stays there.   I added
in our ucar.unidata.util.MemoryMonitor widget to
keep track of the memory usage and commented
out it's call to run garbage collection so that
wouldn't affect the results.

Yes, I see that too now, with copy=false.

- when you are running this test, what do you use for
the heap size in your testing?

Was using the default (64MB). And with this setting, can get the copy=false case to produce an OutOfMemory exception too. Setting heap size to 128MB and it is ok.

- are you using the latest visad.jar (released last
week) in your testing?

Have now tried the latest with same results (was using previous version earlier).

- Since you are calling disable/enableAction for
every j, nothing really happens on the inner loop
from the display side.  So the memory use is really
from the copying of the data on each set sample.
Thus, the please wait only happens on each J instead
of each i.


- If I add in a ScalarMap of index->Animation and use
ImageRendererJ3D, my memory keeps climbing through the
first few j iterations and levels off at 161 Mb max
heap used, then slowly starts climbing and then finally
levels off at about 200 Mb max heap.  Since we use
ImageRendererJ3D for our radar and satellite images, this
explains some of our memory issues.  Obviously, there's
a serious leak in IRJ3D.  But, it never goes beyond 200
even after 1500 j loops.

The radar app only uses the default renderer currently, so have been concentrating on that. We may want to move to the ImageRenderer at some point though, so interested in your comments on that. Also, our radar app definitely has animation so I'll need to put that into future tests, thanks.

And from your other message:

When I wrote this original message, I was not seeing
the memory spikes that James sees.  My memory usage
would level off at 89 mb. However, if I
minimize the display window or have the window hidden
by the readout window, the memory spikes up quickly.

I'm not sure what to make of this.  I suspect that
Jame's variations in how many iterations it takes
to run out of memory depends on how long
the canvas is hidden during the tests.

You're right. I was inadvertently covering up the window at various times during the testing.

Tom W, in answer to your question about "-verbose:gc" it looks like the gc is running when the window is hidden.



This will be a useful program for finding where all
the memory is being used, with or without IRJ3D.
Unfortunately, we probably won't get a chance to look
at this until late March given our schedule.  Maybe
someone at SSEC can look into it in the mean time.



James Kelly wrote:

Hi All,

We are having trouble with a memory leak in a real time radar application.

The attached program ( also demonstrates the problem.

The program starts up, reads a single radar image (from the "radar.dat"
file attached), and creates an loop of 18 images from this one image (to
simulate a 3 hour loop of 10 minute images).

If you then hit the "enter key" (at the unix/dos prompt) the program
then simulates new data arriving by:
* resetting all the data (the 18 images) in the loop
* calls setData on the data reference
* loops 1000 times (the "i loop")
* then an outer loop is called up to 10000 times (the "j loop")

On all platforms (Linux, Windows and AIX) I have tested the program will
eventually fail with an out of memory error.
It occurs for both Java 1.4.2/Java3D 1.3.1 and Java 1.5/Java3D 1.4.0 beta.

The number of loops required to crash the program is highly variable.
I've seen crashes for values of j:
* as small as 1 (ie 1000 calls to setData)
* a lot around the 20 to 30 mark
* a few in the hundreds
* rarely more than 1000.

So be patient if you are trying it out.

Can anybody shed any light on what the cause of the memory leak might be?

Many thanks,


Attached are:

To compile/run: download both files to the same directory, then:
java RadarMemoryLeak

Also are attached are text output from from a memory debugger:
* start.txt: the state of the heap memory just after startup
* end.txt: the state of the heap after the "out of memory" error

James Kelly Meteorological Systems Section Bureau of Meteorology
PO Box 1289K                                  Melbourne 3001, Australia
Phone: 61-3-9669-4724 Fax: 61-3-9669-4128     Email: J.Kelly@xxxxxxxxxx

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