Address space

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In computing, an address space defines a range of discrete addresses, each of which may correspond to a network host, peripheral device, disk sector, a memory cell or other logical or physical entity.

For software programs to save and retrieve stored data, each datum must have an address where it can be located. The number of address spaces available depends on the underlying address structure, which is usually limited by the computer architecture being used. Often an address space in a system with virtual memory corresponds to a highest level translation table, e.g., a segment table in IBM System/370.

Address spaces are created by combining enough uniquely identified qualifiers to make an address unambiguous within the address space. For a person's physical address, the address space would be a combination of locations, such as a neighborhood, town, city, or country. Some elements of a data address space may be the same, but if any element in the address is different, addresses in said space will reference different entities. For example, there could be multiple buildings at the same address of "32 Main Street" but in different towns, demonstrating that different towns have different, although similarly arranged, street address spaces.

An address space usually provides (or allows) a partitioning to several regions according to the mathematical structure it has. In the case of total order, as for memory addresses, these are simply chunks. Like the hierarchical design of postal addresses, some nested domain hierarchies appear as a directed ordered tree, such as with the Domain Name System or a directory structure. In the Internet, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocates ranges of IP addresses to various registries so each can manage their parts of the global Internet address space.[1]