What is memory map? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

A memory map is a massive table, in effect a database, that comprises complete information about how the memory is structured in a computer system. A memory map works something like a gigantic office organizer. In the map, each computer file has a unique memory address reserved especially for it, so that no other data can inadvertently overwrite or corrupt it.

In order for a computer to function properly, its OS (operating system) must always be able to access the right parts of its memory at the right times. When a computer first boots up (starts), the memory map tells the OS how much memory is available. As the computer runs, the memory map ensures that data is always written to, and read from, the proper places. The memory map also ensures that the computer's debuggers can resolve memory addresses to actual stored data.

If there were no memory map, or if an existing memory map got corrupted, the OS might (and probably would) write data to, and read data from, the wrong places. As a result, when data was read, it would not always pertain to the appropriate files or application programs. The problem would likely start out small and unnoticeable, worsen with time, and become apparent only after considerable damage had been done to stored data and programs. In the end, some or all of the applications would fail to run, and many critical data files would be ruined.

 

Continue reading about memory maps:

WiseGEEK describes how memory maps work.

Joe Forster portrays a complete memory map for the Commodore 64 computer.

This was last updated in April 2012
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • JBoss

    - JBoss is a division of Red Hat that provides support for the JBoss open source application server program and related middleware services marketed under the JBoss Enterprise Middleware brand. (WhatIs.com)

  • GPU supercomputer

    - A GPU supercomputer is a networked group of computers with multiple graphics processing units working as general-purpose GPUs (GPGPUs) in tandem on a single task. (WhatIs.com)

  • video card (graphics card)

    - A video adapter (alternate terms include graphics card, display adapter, video card, video board and almost any combination of the words in these terms) is an integrated circuit card in a computer ... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.