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For my college assignment, one of the question asks to explain how a computer increases its memory in machine cycle. I have searched and so far I have found that a computer can't increase it's own memory. Can anybody explain this to me?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What does 'machine cycle' mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – tangrs
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The machine cycle is the most basic operation that a computer performs, and in order to complete menial tasks such as showing a single character on the screen, the CPU has to perform multiple cycles. The computer does this from the moment it boots up until it shuts down. (Fetch, Decode, Execute) \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 3:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure but I don't see how that's related to your question. How does the machine cycle relate to memory in the context of your question? \$\endgroup\$
    – tangrs
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 3:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe there is a misunderstanding in the question. Perhaps it is how a computer increases a memory location in machine cycles? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 3:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @EdgarBrown That's a good point. I had assumed OP was talking about paging. Either way, the question needs clarifying. \$\endgroup\$
    – tangrs
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 3:11

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I'm not sure I fully understand what your question is but I suspect your assignment is trying to teach you about paging.

Paging doesn't actually increase the amount of physical memory the computer has. It achieves the effect of 'increasing' the amount of memory available to programs by moving chunks of memory that aren't immediately being used to some form of secondary storage. This frees up memory to be used by other programs. When the data that was swapped out is needed again, it's read from secondary storage into memory.

Typically, paging is used in conjunction with virtual memory.

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