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Understanding the Linux® Virtual Memory Manager by Mel Gorman

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Chapter 2. Describing Physical Memory

Linux is available for a wide range of architectures, so an architecture-independent way of describing memory is needed. This chapter describes the structures used to keep account of memory banks, pages and flags that affect VM behavior.

The first principal concept prevalent in the VM is Non Uniform Memory Access (NUMA). With large-scale machines, memory may be arranged into banks that incur a different cost to access depending on their distance from the processor. For example, a bank of memory might be assigned to each CPU, or a bank of memory very suitable for Direct Memory Access (DMA) near device cards might be assigned.

Each bank is called a node, and the concept is represented under Linux by a struct pglist_data ...

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