• Multiprogramming;
  • Memory contention;
  • Paging;
  • LRU;
  • Memory management;
  • Virtual memory;
  • Memory technology;
  • Program behaviour;
  • Global LRU


We study memory contention during multiprogramming when programs are free to compete for page frames. A random walk between the possible partitions of memory over the set of active programs is used to model memory contention and calculate throughput. Our model of contention takes into account program characteristics by using miss ratio curves, and also considers memory size and page fetch latency. With the aid of numerous trace-driven simulations, we are able to verify our model, finding good agreement both in the observed distribution of memory among competing programs and in CPU utilization. We find that for high ratios of secondary to primary memory access time and under conditions of high memory contention, small programs with compact working sets are able to run with far less than expected interference from larger, more diffuse programs. In the case of multiprogramming the same program several times, we find that observed partition distributions are not necessarily even and that higher than expected levels of CPU use are observed. Lower ratios of access time are found to yield different results; programs compete on a more even basis and partition memory relatively more evenly than with higher ratios.