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3 definitions found
 for fragmentation
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  fragmentation \fragmentation\ n.
     the act or process of separating something into small pieces
     or fine particles.
  
     Syn: atomization, atomisation.
          [WordNet 1.5]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  fragmentation
      n 1: separating something into fine particles [syn:
           atomization, atomisation, fragmentation]
      2: the disintegration of social norms governing behavior and
         thought and social relationships
      3: (computer science) the condition of a file that is broken up
         and stored in many different locations on a magnetic disk;
         "fragmentation slows system performance because it takes
         extra time to locate and assemble the parts of the fragmented
         file"
      4: the scattering of bomb fragments after the bomb explodes

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  fragmentation
  fragment
  
     1.  segmentation.
  
     2. The process, or result, of splitting a large area of free
     memory (on disk or in main memory) into smaller non-contiguous
     blocks.  This happens after many blocks have been allocated
     and freed.  For example, if there is 3 kilobytes of free space
     and two 1k blocks are allocated and then the first one (at the
     lowest address) is freed, then there will be 2k of free space
     split between the two 1k blocks.  The maximum size block that
     could then be allocated would be 1k, even though there was 2k
     free.  The solution is to "compact" the free space by moving
     the allocated blocks to one end (and thus the free space to
     the other).
  
     As modern file systems are used and files are deleted and
     created, the total free space becomes split into smaller
     non-contiguous blocks (composed of "{clusters" or "{sectors}"
     or some other unit of allocation).  Eventually new files being
     created, and old files being extended, cannot be stored each
     in a single contiguous block but become scattered across the
     file system.  This degrades performance as multiple seek
     operations are required to access a single fragmented file.
  
     Defragmenting consolidates each existing file and the free
     space into a continuous group of sectors.  Access speed will
     be improved due to reduced seeking.
  
     The rate of fragmentation depends on the algorithm used to
     allocate space and the number and position of free sectors.  A
     nearly-full file system will fragment more quickly.
  
     MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows use the simplest algorithm to
     allocate free clusters and so fragmentation occurs quickly.  A
     disk should be defragmented before fragmentation reaches 10%.
  
     See garbage collection.
  
     (1997-08-29)
  

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