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Flat Address Space

Definition - What does Flat Address Space mean?

A flat address space is a technique where memory is treated as a flat plane of memory locations, which serve as a single contiguous block with a single integer offset.

A flat memory model uses a flat address space to address memory. This means that the first address is 0, and each subsequent byte is referenced as a single integer increment of the next sequential number until the end of memory is reached. Thus, when writing four bytes into totally empty memory, the first byte is stored in address 0, and subsequent bytes are stored in addresses 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

Techopedia explains Flat Address Space

A program treats memory as a single contiguous flat space, allowing a processor to address all available memory locations in a linear matter, without resorting to special calculations and processes, like memory segmentation and paging schemes.

A flat address space offers the following advantages:

  • Easy learning curve for programmers

  • Enables straightforward and clean program implementation

  • Provides the greatest flexibility among the different modern memory models because other techniques, like memory management and address translation, can still be implemented on top of it

  • Provides minimal toll on hardware and central processing unit (CPU) for simple actions

  • Provides maximum execution speed, due to its simplicity

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