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Re: st: Memory Issue in XP

From   "Eric A. Booth" <>
Subject   Re: st: Memory Issue in XP
Date   Mon, 20 Jul 2009 12:42:45 -0500

Hi Benjamin:

I've had similar issues on Windows machines, especially when I've got other programs running in the background. You should try watching the memory allocation in your task manager when you run these commands. After a frustrating experience with trying to 'step up' my memory to its maximum in a way similar to what you describe, I created this program that I will give me the maximum amount of memory on the machine until it hits it's might try it out:


program define givemem	
    syntax [, st(integer 100) max(integer 12000) stepby(integer 1000)]
	 set matsize 800
	qui set virtual on   //-->you may want to turn this off
	qui query mem
	local x   = floor(r(memory) )
	*display as txt " MEM is currently  " as result  (`x') "  kilobytes(K)"
	local e = `x'/1000
	local e2 = `e'/1000
	display as txt "... MEM is currently  " as result  "`e' MB  or  `e2' G"

	local current   = floor(`r(memory)')
	local zero 100
	if (`current' > `zero') local start = `current'
	if (`current' < `zero') local start = `zero'
di "GIVEMEM will maximize mem starting at: `start' increasing in steps of: `stepby' " as result

	foreach p in  `stepby' {
		capture {
		forvalues giveme = `st'(`p')`max' {
			set memory `giveme'm
			quietly query mem
			display as txt "`r(memory)"
	 query mem

   ** **
givemem , st(200) max(6400) stepby(500)

There are probably some ways to improve this code, but it seems to work pretty well for me. I just save it in my personal folder as givemem.ado (be careful...because the virtual memory on a Mac is unlimited if you are on a network, it may try to grab all the free hard drive space on the network as virtual memory...I ran it one time and it grabbed 4.6 TB of virtual memory from the free resources available on the department's network ! )



Eric A. Booth
Public Policy Research Institute
Texas A&M University
Office: +979.845.6754

On Jul 20, 2009, at 12:25 PM, BENJAMIN SCHWAB wrote:

I'm encountering an issue with setting memory that I have not seen covered by the large database FAQ or in the Statalist archives. When I open Stata and try the 'set mem xxxm' to a large memory allocation (it seems as if it's anything over 500m), I sometimes get the r(909) error saying “op. sys. refuses to provide memory”. The strange part, however, is if I set the memory to a much smaller number, e.g. set mem 250m, and then gradually raise the memory allocation, I can get up to and past the original allocation that was originally refused.
For example, today I did the following:

set mem 800m
op. sys. refuses to provide memory

set mem 250m

set mem 500m

set mem 800m
op. sys. refuses to provide memory

set mem 700m

set mem 800m

set mem 850m

I can't figure out why this occurs. This can be a real pain for programming purposes, since it's difficult to predict what exact memory allocations will be accepted from day to day (I'm working with large datasets).

I'm running Stata/SE 10.1 with XP SP3. I'd love to hear the input of those more familiar with the working of Stata. Right now, I'm stumped.

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