external memory algorithm


Definition: An algorithm that is efficient when accessing most of the data is very slow, such as, on disk.

See also external sort, external memory data structure.

Note: See [Vitt01]. The external memory could be magnetic tape or even main memory if the cache is very fast.

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "external memory algorithm", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: