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physical
Last modified: Monday, July 21, 2003 

Refers to anything pertaining to hardware. The opposite of physical is logical or virtual, which describe software objects. For example, physical memory refers to the actual RAM chips installed in a computer. Virtual memory, on the other hand, is an imaginary storage area used by programs.

A physical data structure refers to the actual organization of data on a storage device. The logical data structure refers to how the information appears to a program or user. For example, a data file is a collection of information stored together. This is its logical structure. Physically, however, a file could be stored on a disk in several scattered pieces.

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related categories

Computer Science

related terms

fragmentation

hardware

logical

logical topology

physical topology

software

virtual memory


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