Reference counting is a memory management technique used to count how many times an object has a pointer referring to it. The first time it is created, the reference count is set to one. When the last reference to the object is nulled, the reference count is set to zero and the object is deleted. Care must be exercised to prevent a context switch from changing the reference count at the time of deletion. In the methods that follow, the syntax is shortened to keep the scope of the discussion brief and manageable.