Memory Allocation

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This module is a general purpose memory allocation module, which can be used in any project that needs heavy and sophisticated memory allocation. Originally the module was developed for the ScriptBasic project. Later we used it for Rt AdEgine project and multi-thread features were introduced.

The major problem with memory allocation is that memory should be released. Old programs depend on the operating system to release the memory when the process exists and do not release the memory before program termination. Such programs are extremely difficult to port to multi-thread operation. In multi thread operation a thread my exit, but the memory still belongs to the process that goes on.

This module provides a bit of abstraction that helps the programmer to release the memory. The abstraction is the following:

A piece of memory is always allocated from a segment. A segment is logical entity and you should not think of a segment in this content as a continuous memory area. I could also say that: whenever a piece of memory is allocated it is assigned to a segment. When a piece of memory is released it is removed from the segment. A segment is an administrative entity that keep track of the memory pieces that were allocated and assigned to the segment.

To explain segment to the fines details: segments are implemented as linked lists. Each element of the list contains the allocated memory piece as well as a pointer to the next and previous list members.

Whenever the programmer starts a sophisticated task that allocates several memory pieces it has to create a new segment and allocate the memory from that segment. When the memory is to be release the programmer can just say: release all the memory from the segment. This way he or she does not need keep track of the allocated memory structures, and walk through the memory pointers of his or her program which are designed to the program function instead of releasing the memory.

The overhead is the space allocated by two pointers for each memory piece and the size of the three pointers for each segment.

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