How can I explicitly free memory in Python?
According to Python Official Documentation, you can explicitly invoke the Garbage Collector to release unreferenced memory with
You should do that after marking what you want to discard using
del my_arraydel my_objectgc.collect()
Unfortunately (depending on your version and release of Python) some types of objects use "free lists" which are a neat local optimization but may cause memory fragmentation, specifically by making more and more memory "earmarked" for only objects of a certain type and thereby unavailable to the "general fund".
The only really reliable way to ensure that a large but temporary use of memory DOES return all resources to the system when it's done, is to have that use happen in a subprocess, which does the memory-hungry work then terminates. Under such conditions, the operating system WILL do its job, and gladly recycle all the resources the subprocess may have gobbled up. Fortunately, the
multiprocessing module makes this kind of operation (which used to be rather a pain) not too bad in modern versions of Python.
In your use case, it seems that the best way for the subprocesses to accumulate some results and yet ensure those results are available to the main process is to use semi-temporary files (by semi-temporary I mean, NOT the kind of files that automatically go away when closed, just ordinary files that you explicitly delete when you're all done with them).
I have heard people on Linux and Unix-type systems forking a python process to do some work, getting results and then killing it.
This article has notes on the Python garbage collector, but I think lack of memory control is the downside to managed memory