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A Note on Storage Fragmentation and Program Segmentation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian RandellORCiD



The main purpose of this paper is the presentation of some of the results of a series of simulation experiments investigating the phenomenon of storage fragmentation. Two different types of storage fragmentation are distinguished: (1) external fragmentation, namely the loss in storage utilization caused by the inability to make use of all available storage after it has been fragmented into a large number of separate blocks; and (2) internal fragmentation, the loss of utilization caused by rounding up a request for storage, rather than allocating only the exact number of words required. The most striking result is the apparently general rule that rounding up requests for storage, to reduce the number of different sizes of blocks coexisting in storage, causes more loss of storage by increased internal fragmentation than is saved by decreased external fragmentation. Described also are a method of segment allocation and an accompanying technique for segment addressing which take advantage of the above result. Evidence is presented of possible advantages of the method over conventional paging techniques.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Randell B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Communications of the ACM

Year: 1969

Volume: 12

Issue: 7

Pages: 365-369, 372

Print publication date: 01/07/1969

Date deposited: 24/09/2010

ISSN (print): 0001-0782

ISSN (electronic): 1557-7317

Publisher: ACM Press


DOI: 10.1145/363156.363158


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