Operating Systems

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4.3.3: TLBs--Translation Lookaside Buffers (and General Associative Memory)

Note: Tanenbaum suggests that “associative memory” and “translation lookaside buffer” are synonyms. This is wrong. Associative memory is a general concept and translation lookaside buffer is a special case.

An associative memory is a content addressable memory. That is you access the memory by giving the value of some field and the hardware searches all the records and returns the record whose field contains the requested value.

For example

Name  | Animal | Mood     | Color
Moris | Cat    | Finicky  | Grey
Fido  | Dog    | Friendly | Black
Izzy  | Iguana | Quiet    | Brown
Bud   | Frog   | Smashed  | Green
If the index field is Animal and Iguana is given, the associative memory returns
Izzy  | Iguana | Quiet    | Brown

A Translation Lookaside Buffer or TLB is an associate memory where the index field is the page number. The other fields include the frame number, dirty bit, valid bit, and others.

Homework: 17.

4.3.4: Inverted page tables

Keep a table indexed by frame number with the entry f containing the number of the page currently loaded in frame f. This is often called a frame table as well as an inverted page table.

4.4: Page Replacement Algorithms (PRAs)

These are solutions to the replacement question.

Good solutions take advantage of locality.

Pages belonging to processes that have terminated are of course perfect choices for victims.

Pages belonging to processes that have been blocked for a long time are good choices as well.

Random PRA

A lower bound on performance. Any decent scheme should do better.

4.4.1: The optimal page replacement algorithm (opt PRA) (aka Belady's min PRA)

Replace the page whose next reference will be furthest in the future.

4.4.2: The not recently used (NRU) PRA

Divide the frames into four classes and make a random selection from the lowest nonempty class.

  1. Not referenced, not modified
  2. Not referenced, modified
  3. Referenced, not modified
  4. Referenced, modified

Assumes that in each PTE there are two extra flags R (sometimes called U, for used) and M (often called D, for dirty).

Also assumes that a page in a lower priority class is cheaper to evict.

We again have the prisoner problem, we do a good job of making little ones out of big ones, but not the reverse. Need more resets.

Every k clock ticks, reset all R bits

What if the hardware doesn't set these bits?

4.4.3: FIFO PRA

Simple but poor since usage of the page is ignored.

Belady's Anomaly: Can have more frames yet generate more faults. Example given later.

The natural implementation is to have a queue of nodes each pointing to a page.

4.4.4: Second chance PRA

Similar to the FIFO PRA, but altered so that a page recently referenced is given a second chance.

4.4.5: Clock PRA

Same algorithm as 2nd chance, but a better implementation for the nodes: Use a circular list with a single pointer serving as both head and tail.

Let us begin by assuming that the number of pages loaded is constant.

What if the number of pages is not constant?


This is terrible! Why?
Ans: All but the last frame are frozen once loaded so you can replace only one frame. This is especially bad after a phase shift in the program when it is using all new pages.

4.4.6: Least Recently Used (LRU) PRA

When a page fault occurs, choose as victim that page that has been unused for the longest time, i.e. that has been least recently used.

LRU is definitely

PageLoadedLast ref.RM
Homework: 29, 23. Note: there is a typo in 29; the table should be as shown on the right.

A hardware cutsie in Tanenbaum

4.4.7: Simulating (Approximating) LRU in Software

The Not Frequently Used (NFU) PRA

R counter

The Aging PRA

NFU doesn't distinguish between old references and recent ones. The following modification does distinguish.

Homework: 25, 34