Report Number: CS-TR-91-1394
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Application-controlled physical memory using external page-cache management
Author: Harty, Kieran
Author: Cheriton, David R.
Date: October 1991
Abstract: Next generation computer systems will have gigabytes of physical memory and processors in the 100 MIPS range or higher. Contrary to some conjectures, this trend requires more sophisticated memory management support for memory-bound computations such as scientific simulations and systems such as large-scale database systems, even though memory management for most programs will be less of a concern. We describe the design, implementation and evaluation of a virtual memory system that provides application control of physical memory using external page-cache management. In this approach, a sophisticated application is able to monitor and control the amount of physical memory it has available for execution, the exact contents of this memory, and the scheduling and nature of page-in and page-out using the abstraction of a physical page cache provided by the kernel. We claim that this approach can significantly improve performance for many memory-bound applications while reducing kernel complexity, yet does not complicate other applications or reduce their performance.