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Today, even assembly programmers do not have to worry about memory allocation because current assemblers can handle that task. Memory allocation algorithms are good enough at their job that it isn't worth a programmer's time to manually allocate memory. There are a few different ways that languages solve the problem of memory allocation. In general, it is simply a matter of providing the programmer with memory that is known to be required at compile time including space for global data values and the code itself. The more difficult problem is how to provide flexible data memory that may or may not be needed when the program actually executes.

The approach that C takes is to make available to the the programmer special functions that manage memory allocation. These methods are called malloc(int) (memory allocate) and free(void *) . The basic idea is that whenever the programmer needs a specific amount of additional memory, he calls malloc(int) with the integer being the number of bytes of memory needed. The function returns a pointer to a block of memory of the requested size. When the programmer is done with a particular block of memory, he may call free(void*) to let the memory management library know that the particular block of memory isn't needed anymore by passing the pointer to that block to the function. If the programmer is diligent about returning (freeing) memory that isn't needed anymore, then he will enjoy an abundant supply of memory without having to count individual bytes. On the other hand, if a programmer repeatedly requests memory but does not free the memory back to the system, the memory allocator will eventually run out of memory and program will then crash. Thus, it is essential for passages of code that frequently request memory allocations to free these allocations as quickly as they can. Un-freed memory blocks are not fatal in very infrequently executed parts of code; however, the longer a program runs, the more potential there is for a problem. In general, a program that allocates but does not free memory, is said to have a memory leak .

Other languages handle the problem of memory allocation automatically. Java allocates the memory for new data on the fly using the keyword new instead of the function malloc , but the more important difference is that freeing takes place automatically. Part of the Java system called the garbage collector detects memory that can be safely freed and does so. In this manner, Java programs do not suffer memory leaks in the way a C program might.

Memory and the msp

In the ez430 there is no inherent difference between instruction memory, data memory, and heap memory. The only subdivisions in memory are the blocks of flash and the sections of RAM. Any of these sections can hold any type of memory; however, because it is problematic to erase and rewrite flash in the middle of program execution, the flash memory is best saved for instructions and constants. The remaining RAM must be shared then between the heap, the dynamically allocated memory, and the global variables. On the ez430, there is only 2KB of RAM, so no memory leaks are tolerable.

How memory is wasted or conserved

The most notable way to waste memory, memory leaks, have already been discussed, but there are several others. While memory leaks abuse the dynamically allocated portion of data memory, many layers of function calls abuse the heap. Above, it was explained that each time a function calls another function, the caller's registers and data are moved onto the heap. If each called function calls another function in turn, then the heap portion of the memory will grow significantly. For high power computing systems, this is not usually a great threat to the overall supply of memory compared to other memory leaks. Embedded systems, however, must avoid deep layers of function calling or risk exhausting the overall supply of memory.

There is a programming technique called recursion, which uses deep layers of function calling, where a function calls itself repeatedly on progressively smaller or simpler versions of the data until the answer is trivial (a base case). While this technique leads to some very clever solutions to some complex problems, it is uses large amounts of memory to achieve this end. Therefore, recursion is generally a poor choice when dealing with microcontrollers.

Another way to waste memory is to create too many global variables. Specifically, variables whose scope could be local to a function or that could be allocated dynamically waste memory because they take up space even when not in use.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to the texas instruments ez430. OpenStax CNX. Jun 19, 2006 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10354/1.6
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