Issue No.06 - November/December (2010 vol.27)
Diomidis Spinellis , Athens University of Economics and Business
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MS.2010.140
Sophisticated processing of huge, complex datasets requires us to rethink the relationship between disk-based storage and main-memory processing. Some features of modern systems—namely, 64-bit architectures, memory-mapped sparse files, virtual memory, and copy on write support—let us process our data with readable and efficient RAM-based algorithms, using slow disks and file systems only for their large capacity and to secure the data's persistence. The author demonstrates this approach through a short C++ program that locates the shortest path on very large graphs, like that of Wikipedia. Although RAM-based processing opens up again many problems that database systems already solve, the author believes that this is the right move because it provides us with a unified programming and performance model for all our data operations, irrespective of where the data resides.
memory mapping, RAM, disk, database, copy on write
Diomidis Spinellis, "Farewell to Disks", IEEE Software, vol.27, no. 6, pp. 82-83, November/December 2010, doi:10.1109/MS.2010.140