[R] memory

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at aracnet.com
Thu May 17 19:45:55 CEST 2001

On Thu, 17 May 2001, Thomas Lumley wrote:

> Well, there's clearly a bug involved. You could make a good case for the
> bug being in the operating system, though -- you should certainly be able
> to kill the R process without restarting the computer.
> I think that Windows is prepared to give away more memory than is good for
> it, leaving the operating system with no room to work.  The --max-mem-size
> option is designed to stop this: it specifies the maximum amount of memory
> R can ask for.  It sounds like  your file is too big for read.csv in the
> memory you have.  I believe R 1.3.0 has an improved read.table, which
> might help.

Windows 95, 98 and ME have *very* limited memory management capabilities. IIRC
the R default is to limit memory to the amount of physical memory installed.
My recommendation for Win 95, 98 and ME is to limit memory to *half* of
installed physical memory. On Windows NT and 2000, you can probably get away
with 75 percent of physical memory. You're wasting your time trying to go larger
than these values; at best, Windows will thrash and at worst it will crash.

I have not yet pushed these limits with Linux, either 2.2 or 2.4 kernel, but
I'd be willing to bet that the 75% of physical memory is close to what you can
get away with -- maybe 80% with X windows turned off and running in batch mode.
Generally on *NIX boxen you want 1/4 of real memory or thereabouts for buffer
cache, leaving 3/4 for everything else.
znmeb at aracnet.com (M. Edward Borasky) http://www.aracnet.com/~znmeb

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