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st: Set memory problems - reply from Stata Tech support

From   "Karen Wright" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: Set memory problems - reply from Stata Tech support
Date   Tue, 12 Jan 2010 11:22:08 +0000

Dear All, 

As promised, the response from Stat Technical support (below).  It appears that the problem is to do with the RAM memory fo the system and is not a Stata fault.


Dear Karen,

You mentioned that you have 140Gb available on your hard drive.  Stata requires
that data sets be loaded into RAM and therefore does not utilize the available
space on your hard drive for loading data sets.  How much RAM do you have on
your system?  Are you using a 32-bit operating system?  A 32-bit operating
system can only allocate up to 2Gb of RAM to any single program.  But, due to
the operating system itself taking up large chunks of the RAM, such that the
remaining available RAM is being split up, then in reality there are no
available contiguous blocks of RAM open for applications such as Stata.
Typically, you'll only be able to allocate between 700M to 1Gb of that to a
single program (including Stata).  This is true even if you have more than 2Gb
of RAM installed on your machine, and the amount will also be affected by other
programs/processes that are running.  Therefore it is difficult to say what is
causing only 1Gb RAM to be allocated, but this is completely up to the
operating system.  Stata merely makes the request.

Stata requires contiguous memory to be allocated for the dataset. This
allocation issue you are experiencing with Stata is because Windows is not
allocating the RAM efficiently and is breaking it up into noncontiguous chunks. 

When Windows loads a program into the middle of your memory space it reduces
what Stata can use by half. The simplest way to resolve this issue it to close
the programs that auto start until after you have allocated the memory you need
to Stata. 

The easiest way to see a list of the programs that are running is to pull up
the Task Manager and select the Processes tab. Generally there is one program
that is the primary culprit because it is being loaded into the middle of the
memory. If you find that there is a program being loaded that is fragmenting
the memory you can close it and Windows will allocate more memory to Stata.

The only way to completely resolve this issue would be to work with a 64-bit
system.   If your datasets require that amount of memory allocation, or for
anybody who is having to run analysis on really large datasets, it is highly
recommended that they use 64-bit Stata running on a 64-bit platform.


Jennifer Rolfes  

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