Not able to store data to dictionary because of memory limitation

Ulrich Eckhardt ulrich.eckhardt at
Wed Jul 6 10:35:44 CEST 2011

Rama Rao Polneni wrote:
> After storing 1.99 GB data in to the dictionary, python stopped to
> store the remaining data in to dictionary.

Question here:
 - Which Python?
 - "stopped to store" (you mean "stopped storing", btw), how does it behave? 
Hang? Throw exceptions? Crash right away?

> Memory utilization is 26 GB/34GB. That means, still lot memory is left
> as unutilized.

2GiB is typically the process limit for memory allocations on 32-bit 
systems. So, if you are running a 32-bit system or running a 32-bit process 
on a 64-bit system, you are probably hitting hard limits. With luck, you 
could extend this to 3GiB on a 32-bit system.

> Is this proplem becasue of large memory utlization.

I guess yes.

> Is there any alternate solution to resolve this issue. Like splitting
> the dictionaries or writing the data to hard disk instead of writing
> to memory.

If you have lost of equal strings, interning them might help, both in size 
and speed. Doing in-memory compression would be a good choice, too, like 
e.g. if you have string fields in the DB that can only contain very few 
possible values, converting them to an integer/enumeration.

Otherwise, and this is a more general approach, prefer making a single sweep 
over the data. This means that you read a chunk of data, perform whatever 
operation you need on it, possibly write the results and then discard the 
chunk. This keeps memory requirements low. At first, it doesn't look as 
clean as reading the whole data in one step, calculations as a second and 
writing results as a third, but with such amounts of data as yours, it is 
the only viable step.

Good luck, and I'd like to hear how you solved the issue!


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