Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Buffer pools, registers, working memory, and epilepsy

What does it mean to a high-powered database server (lots of CPU cores, plenty of memory, fast and big disk system) when the bufferpools are tiny? What happens with a CPU with lots of cache when only few registers can be used? What happens with human brain if the so-called working memory is impacted by epilepsy-related medication or surgery (see my earlier posts related to epilepsy and IT)?

All of the three mentioned systems cannot utilize their full capabilities, throughput is limited because an important component is impacted. But what can be done to improve throughput?

The key is to change the strategy and to deal with the shortcomings. In a database server like DB2 or Oracle it would be to improve selectivity to reduce the data to be processed, to create indexes to avoid access to much data, and to enable data compression so that less data is moved. For software running on a system with too fw registers it would be to change algorithms, so that, e.g., fewer operands are handled.

How does someone cope with memory problems caused by epilepsy? Our son has occupational therapy to develop strategies for more efficient use of his working memory and also to train (build up) his capabilities. The Epilepsy Society has this summary on the memory issue and workarounds that can be used like sticky notes (external memory), task lists, etc.