Jump to content
Jayakaran

LabVIEW array memory allocation

Recommended Posts

LabVIEW is quite flexible when we want to change array sizes at runtime and of course may of us have run into the out of memory errors because we assume that it takes care of everything. I’ve been reading more into how arrays in LabVIEW work and from my understanding; I don’t think arrays are really contiguous!

Let’s take an array of strings. An array of strings is stored as an array of pointers. Each element of the array can be in any part of the memory (provided the element itself remains in a contiguous location) and doesn't need to be contiguous with the rest of the array. If I change the size of an element, only that element is reassigned, not the whole array. In other words, the array along with its elements is non-contiguous. Essentially if I have a 3 element array of strings in a 32 bit environment, I need 4*3+overhead bytes to store the array + size of element 1 (+overhead) + size of element 2 (+overhead) + size of element 3 (+overhead) minimum free bytes. This means that in memory I need to find 4 contiguous locations, each with a minimum size of the respective component to be placed there. If I change the size of element 2, only 2 is reassigned to another memory location (if it can't grow it in its current location), nothing changes for elements 1 and 3.

So basically if I have an array strings that is 1GB in size, I don’t need 1GB of contiguous memory to assign it. The largest contiguous location I need is the size of the largest element. This doesn’t apply to fixed element size arrays like a 2 directional array of doubles, which needs to be contiguous.

Please read the second paragraph of this link very carefully - http://zone.ni.com/r...flattened_data/

Also makes some good reading

http://zone.ni.com/r...data_in_memory/

I’m not arguing the merits of choosing the best way to store arrays. (Putting a 1D array of doubles inside a cluster and adding that cluster to an array so we don’t require contiguous locations in memory vs simply creating a 2D Double array) I’m trying to see if there is a flaw in this reasoning?

Amit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything you wrote seems correct. Did you have a question or an observation?

Like the manual says, arrays of flat data are stored contiguously. Arrays of variably-sized data are not stored contiguously, though the array of handles to those elements is stored contiguously.

If you ask LabVIEW to flatten the data, say to write it to a file in one pass, it will have to allocate a string large enough to copy the array into. There are other, more clever, ways to write a large dataset to a file.

Welcome to LAVA!

Edited by jdunham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything you wrote seems correct. Did you have a question or an observation?

Like the manual says, arrays of flat data are stored contiguously. Arrays of variably-sized data are not stored contiguously, though the array of handles to those elements is stored contiguously.

If you ask LabVIEW to flatten the data, say to write it to a file in one pass, it will have to allocate a string large enough to copy the array into. There are other, more clever, ways to write a large dataset to a file.

Welcome to LAVA!

Yepper!

BUT provided you are not trying to prove that monkeys with typewritters eventually writting the King James Bible theory of evolution then we usually have to realy on a human to generate that much text. But when it comes time to monitor their blood pressure while typing, those numbers can pile up fast so that is the trap that often trips us up.

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is simply an observation. I've used LabVIEW for many years now and have always assumed that all arrays are contiguous, regardless of their content. I just assumed that LabVIEW's memory allocation was flat.

Where in the manual did you see the stuff about variable size elements?

Amit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where in the manual did you see the stuff about variable size elements?

I'm just talking about your link to the manual.

You can tell whether your data is flat by trying to write it into a Type Cast function. It will only accept flat data types (though it doesn't seem to accept arrays with more than one dimension, even if they are flat).

If an array of strings were stored contiguously, and you changed the size of any of the strings, LV would have to copy the entire array to a new memory location, so it wouldn't really make sense to store them that way.

Edited by jdunham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.