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Date:   Thu, 13 Apr 2017 11:42:00 +0200
From:   Samuel Thibault <>
To:     Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
        Arnd Bergmann <>
Subject: [RFC] Re: Costless huge virtual memory? /dev/same, /dev/null?


More than one year passed without any activity :)

I have attached a proposed patch for discussion.


Samuel Thibault, on lun. 29 févr. 2016 17:28:35 +0100, wrote:
> I'm wondering whether we could introduce a /dev/same device to allow
> costless huge virtual memory.
> The use case is the simulation of the execution of a big irregular HPC
> application, to provision memory usage, cpu time, etc. We know how much
> time each computation loop takes, and it's easy to replace them with a
> mere accounting. We'd however like to avoid having to revamp the rest
> of the code, which does allocation/memcpys/etc., by just replacing
> the allocation calls with virtual allocations, i.e. allocations which
> return addresses of buffers that one can read/write, but the values you
> read are not necessarily what you wrote, i.e. the data is not actually
> properly stored (since we don't do the actual computations that's not a
> problem).
> The way we currently do this is by some folding: we map the same normal
> file several times contiguously to form the virtual allocation. By using
> a small 1MiB file, this limits memory consumption to 1MiB plus the page
> table (and fits the dumb data in a typical cache). This however creates
> one VMA per file mapping, we get limited by the 65535 VMA limit, and
> VMA lookup becomes slow.
> The way I could see is to have a /dev/same device: when you open it, it
> allocates one page. When you mmap it, it maps the same page over the
> whole resulting single VMA.
> This is a quite specific use case, but it seems to be easy to implement,
> and it seems to me that it could be integrated mainline. Actually I was
> thinking that /dev/null itself could be providing that service?
> (currently it returns ENODEV)
> What do people think?  Is there perhaps another solution to achieve this
> that I didn't think about?
> Samuel

View attachment "dev_garbage" of type "text/plain" (5732 bytes)

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