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Main article: Automatic variable

In many programming language implementations, all variables declared within a procedure (subroutine, or function) are local to that function; the runtime environment for the program automatically allocates memory for these variables on program execution entry to the procedure, and automatically releases that memory when the procedure is exited. Special declarations may allow local variables to retain values between invocations of the procedure, or may allow local variables to be accessed by other procedures. The automatic allocation of local variables makes recursion possible, to a depth limited by available memory.

Garbage collection

Main article: Garbage collection (computer science)

Garbage collection is a strategy for automatically detecting memory allocated to objects that are no longer usable in a program, and returning that allocated memory to a pool of free memory locations. This method is in contrast to “manual” memory management where a programmer explicitly codes memory requests and memory releases in the program. While automatic garbage has the advantages of reducing programmer workload and preventing certain kinds of memory allocation bugs, garbage collection does require memory resources of its own, and can compete with the application program for processor time