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The RSS stands for resident set size, and indicates the amount of physical RAM being used by the program at a given time. SIZE, on the other hand, gives the total RAM usage, including code, heap, and stack. When the numbers differ, the missing data is actually stored in swap memory, on disk. This is usually memory that has gone unaccessed for a while and that will not consume physical memory. Normally the OS decides automatically which objects to swap in and out of virtual memory. As mentioned earlier, freed memory does not return to the heap until a program terminates, and as a result, memory use indicated by SIZE will never decrease throughout the extent of a program. It only ever goes one way--up."
Modern Memory Management, onlamp.com