Taming the Memory Hogs: Using Compiler Inserted Releases to Manage Physical Memory Intelligently

Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 2000), pages 31-44, October 2000.

Angela Demke Brown and Todd C. Mowry

School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Out-of-core applications consume physical resources at a rapid rate, causing interactive applications sharing the same machine to exhibit poor response times. This behavior is the result of default resource management strategies in the OS that are inappropriate for memory-intensive applications. Using an approach that integrates compiler analysis with simple OS support and a run-time layer that adapts to dynamic conditions, we have shown that the impact of out-of-core applications on interactive ones can be greatly mitigated. A combination of prefetching pages that will soon be needed, and releasing pages no longer in use results in good throughput for the out-of-core task and good response time for the interactive one. Each class of application performs well according to the metric most important to it. In addition, the OS does not need to attempt to identify these application classes, or modify its default resource management policies in any way. We also observe that when an out-of-core application releases pages, it both improves the response time of interactive tasks, and also improves its own performance through better replacement decisions and reduced memory management overhead.

FULL PAPER: pdf / postscript




© 2017. Last updated 15 March, 2012