Type Erasure

Generics were introduced to the Java language to provide tighter type checks at compile time and to support generic programming. To implement generics, the Java compiler applies type erasure to:

  • Replace all type parameters in generic types with their bounds or Object if the type parameters are unbounded. The produced bytecode, therefore, contains only ordinary classes, interfaces, and methods.

  • Insert type casts if necessary to preserve type safety.

  • Generate bridge methods to preserve polymorphism in extended generic types.

Type erasure ensures that no new classes are created for parameterized types; consequently, generics incur no runtime overhead.