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This module explains the different kinds of memory, some common memory organizations, and the basics of conserving memory.

In the early days of computers, the instruction memories of main frames were incredibly small by today's standards - in the hundreds or thousands of bytes. This small capacity placed the emphasis on making each instruction count and each data value saved useful. Fortunately, just as processors have become millions of times faster, program memory have become similarly increased. However, there are still general practices that must be kept in mind when using program memory. Further, smaller platforms like microcontrollers are still limited to program and data memory in the kilobytes. This module explains the kinds of memory, some common memory organizations, and the basics of conserving memory.

How memory is organized

So far in this module, we have referred to the program memory of a computer (the RAM of a PC), but in most memory architectures there is some categorization of the memory into parts. The basic principle behind subdividing the memory is that by breaking the memory into sections, it will be easier to access the smaller memory. Also, clever memory restrictions allow the designer of the system to improve performance. Strict divisions between memory sections are also very important for compilers to be able to utilize the memory.

Instruction memory is a region of memory reserved for the actual assembly code of the program. This memory may have restrictions on how it can be written to or accessed because it is not expected that changes will need to be made frequently to the code of the program. Because the size of instruction memory is known when the program compiles, called compile time, this section of memory can be segmented by hardware, software, or a combination of the two.

Data memory is a region of memory where the temporary variables, arrays, and information used by a program can be stored without using the hard disk or long term memory. This is the section memory that memory allocations come from when more memory for data structures is needed in the course of the program.

Heap memory is an internal memory pool that tasks use to dynamically allocate memory as needed. It may be used when functions must be put on hold and the function's data needs to be stored. As functions call other functions, it is necessary that the new (callee) function's data be loaded into the CPU. The previous (caller) function's data must be stored in the heap memory. The deeper function calls go, the larger the heap portion of memory needs to be.

Often, the heap memory and the data memory compete directly for space while the program is running. This is because both the depth of the function calls and the size of the data memory can fluctuate based on the situation. This is why it is important to return the heap memory the task uses to the memory pool when the task is finished.

Memory allocation in languages

The organization of memory can vary among compilers and programming languages. In most cases, the goal of memory management systems is to make the limited resource of memory appear infinite (or at least more abundant) than it really is. The goal is to free the application programmer from having to worry about where his memory will come from. In the oldest days of mainframes, when each byte of memory was precious, a programmer might account each address in memory himself to ensure that there was enough room for the instructions, heap, and data. As programming languages and compilers were developed, algorithms to handle this task were developed so that the computer could handle its own memory issues.

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
Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Microcontroller and embedded systems laboratory. OpenStax CNX. Feb 11, 2006 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10215/1.29
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