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Logical- Versus Physical-Address Space

Logical- Versus Physical-Address Space

Logical- Versus Physical-Address Space

Logical versus physical Address, The logical address is a virtual address. It can be viewed by the user. The user can’t see the physical address directly. The logical address is used as a reference, to access the physical address.

  • An address generated by the CPU is commonly referred to as a logical address or a virtual address whereas an address seen by the main memory unit is commonly referred to as a physical address.
  • The set of all logical addresses generated by a program is a logical-address space whereas the set of all physical addresses corresponding to these logical addresses is a physical address space.
  • Logical and physical addresses are the same in compile-time and load-time address-binding schemes; logical (virtual) and physical addresses differ in the execution-time address-binding scheme.
  • The Memory Management Unit is a hardware device that maps virtual to physical address. In MMU scheme, the value in the relocation register is added to every address generated by a user process at the time it is sent to memory as follows:

Dynamic relocation using a relocation register

(Dynamic relocation using a relocation register)

Dynamic Loading

  • It loads the program and data dynamically into physical memory to obtain better memory-space utilization.
  • With dynamic loading, a routine is not loaded until it is called.
  • The advantage of dynamic loading is that an unused routine is never loaded.
  • This method is useful when large amounts of code are needed to handle infrequently occurring cases, such as error routines.
  • Dynamic loading does not require special support from the operating system.

Dynamic Linking

  • Linking postponed until execution time.
  • A small piece of code (stub) used to locate the appropriate memory-resident library routine.
  • Stub replaces itself with the address of the routine and executes the routine.
  • The operating system needed to check if the routine is in processes memory address.
  • Dynamic linking is particularly useful for libraries.


  • Keep in memory only those instructions and data that are needed at any given time.
  • Needed when the process is larger than the amount of memory allocated to it.
  • Implemented by the user, no special support needed from the operating system, programming design of overlay structure is complex.


  • A process can be swapped temporarily out of memory to a backing store (large disc), and then brought back into memory for continued execution.
  • Roll out, roll in: A variant of this swapping policy is used for priority-based scheduling algorithms. If a higher-priority process arrives and wants service, the memory manager can swap out the lower-priority process so that it can load and execute the higher-priority process. When the higher-priority process finishes, the lower-priority process can be swapped back in and continued. This variant of swapping is called roll out, roll in.
  • A major part of swap time is transfer time; total transfer time is directly proportional to the amount of memory swapped.
  • Modified versions of swapping are found on many systems (UNIX, Linux, and Windows).

Schematic View of Swapping


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