In computing, virtual memory (also virtual storage) is a memory managementtechnique that provides an “idealized abstraction of the storage resources that are actually available on a given machine” which “creates the illusion to users of a very large (main) memory.”The computer’s operating system, using a combination of hardware and software, maps memory addresses used by a program, called virtual addresses, into physical addresses in computer memory. Main storage, as seen by a process or task, appears as a contiguous address space or collection of contiguous segments. The operating system manages virtual address spacesand the assignment of real memory to virtual memory. Address translation hardware in the CPU, often referred to as a memory management unit or MMU, automatically translates virtual addresses to physical addresses. Software within the operating system may extend these capabilities to provide a virtual address space that can exceed the capacity of real memory and thus reference more memory than is physically present in the computer.
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