Real-Time Garbage Collection for Flash-Memory Storage Systems of Real-Time Embedded Systems

Li-Pin Chang, Tei Wei Kuo, Shi Wu Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Flash-memory technology is becoming critical in building embedded systems applications because of its shock-resistant, power economic, and nonvolatile nature. With the recent technology breakthroughs in both capacity and reliability, flash-memory storage systems are now very popular in many types of embedded systems. However, because flash memory is a write-once and bulk-erase medium, we need a translation layer and a garbage-collection mechanism to provide applications a transparent storage service. In the past work, various techniques were introduced to improve the garbage-collection mechanism. These techniques aimed at both performance and endurance issues, but they all failed in providing applications a guaranteed performance. In this paper, we propose a real-time garbage-collection mechanism, which provides a guaranteed performance, for hard real-time systems. On the other hand, the proposed mechanism supports non-real-time tasks so that the potential bandwidth of the storage system can be fully utilized. A wear-leveling method, which is executed as a non-real-time service, is presented to resolve the endurance problem of flash memory. The capability of the proposed mechanism is demonstrated by a series of experiments over our system prototype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-863
Number of pages27
JournalACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Algorithms
  • Design
  • Embedded systems
  • flash memory
  • garbage collection
  • real-time system
  • storage systems


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