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The garbage collectors for Jikes RVM are provided by MMTk. The MMTk: The Memory Manager Toolkit describes MMTk and gives a tutorial on how to use and edit it and is the best place to start.  An updated version of the tutorial is here. A detailed description of the call chain from the compilers through to MMTk here is another good place to start understanding how MMTk integrates with JikesRVM.  Anatomy of a Garbage Collector describes the major building blocks of an MMTk collector and Scanning Objects in JikesRVM describes how objects are scanned for their pointer fields during GC.