Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

An object-oriented approach to virtual memory management

Glenford Ezra Mapp

January 1992, 150 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted September 1991 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Clare Hall.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-242


Advances in computer technology are being pooled together to form a new computing environment which is characterised by powerful workstations with vast amounts of memory connected to high speed networks. This environment will provide a large number of diverse services such as multimedia communications, expert systems and object-oriented databases. In order to develop these complex applications in an efficient manner, new interfaces are required which are simple, fast and flexible and allow the programmer to use an object-oriented approach throughout the design and implementation of an application. Virtual memory techniques are increasingly being used to build these new facilities.

In addition since CPU speeds continue to increase faster than disk speeds, an I/O bottleneck may develop in which the CPU may be idle for long periods waiting for paging requests to be satisfied. To overcome this problem it is necessary to develop new paging algorithms that better reflect how different objects are used. Thus a facility to page objects on a per-object basis is required and a testbed is also needed to obtain experimental data on the paging activity of different objects.

Virtual memory techniques, previously only used in mainframe and minicomputer architectures, are being employed in the memory management units of modern microprocessors. With very large address spaces becoming a standard feature of most systems, the use of memory mapping is seen as an effective way of providing greater flexibility as well as improved system efficiency.

This thesis presents an object-oriented interface for memory mapped objects. Each object has a designated object type. Handles are associated with different object types and the interface allows users to define and manage new object types. Moving data between the object and its backing store is done by user-level processes called object managers. Object managers interact with the kernel via a specified interface thus allowing users to build their own object managers. A framework to compare different algorithms was also developed and an experimental testbed was designed to gather and analyse data on the paging activity of various programs. Using the testbed, conventional paging algorithms were applied to different types of objects and the results were compared. New paging algorithms were designed and implemented for objects that are accessed in a highly sequential manner.

Full text

PDF (6.6 MB)

BibTeX record

  author =	 {Mapp, Glenford Ezra},
  title = 	 {{An object-oriented approach to virtual memory management}},
  year = 	 1992,
  month = 	 jan,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-242},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-242}