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An Advisor for Flexible Working Sets

Report ID:
January 1990
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The traditional model of virtual memory working sets does not account for programs that can adjust their working sets on demand. Examples of such programs are garbage-collected systems and databases with block cache buffers. We present a memory-use model of such systems, and propose a method that
may be used by virtual memory managers to advise programs on how to adjust their working sets. Our method tries to minimize memory contention and ensure better overall system response time. We have implemented a memory "advice server" that runs as a non-privileged process under Berkeley Unix. User
processes may ask this server for advice about working set sizes, so as to take maximum advantage of memory resources. Our implementation is quite simple, and has negligible overhead, and experimental results show that it results in sizable performance improvements.

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