IBM DeveloperWorks has a great article on the details of the JVM garbage collector, including some neat foreshadowing of escape analysis that will be present in Java Mustang.

“The Java language does not offer any way to explicitly allocate an object on the stack, but this fact doesn’t prevent JVMs from still using stack allocation where appropriate. JVMs can use a technique called escape analysis, by which they can tell that certain objects remain confined to a single thread for their entire lifetime, and that lifetime is bounded by the lifetime of a given stack frame. Such objects can be safely allocated on the stack instead of the heap. Even better, for small objects, the JVM can optimize away the allocation entirely and simply hoist the object’s fields into registers.”