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3.3.3 Distributed Memory

In a distributed memory system the memory is associated with individual processors and a processor is only able to address its own memory. Some authors refer to this type of system as a multicomputer, reflecting the fact that the building blocks in the system are themselves small computer systems complete with processor and memory.

There are several benefits of this organization. First, there is no bus or switch contention. Each processor can utilize the full bandwidth to its own local memory without interference from other processors. Second, the lack of a common bus means there is no inherent limit to the number of processors; the size of the system is now constrained only by the network used to connect processors to each other. Third, there are no cache coherency problems. Each processor is in charge of its own data, and it does not have to worry about putting copies of it in its own local cache and having another processor reference the original.