fragmentation

[frag-muhn-tey-shuhn]
noun
1.
the act or process of fragmenting; state of being fragmented.
2.
the disintegration, collapse, or breakdown of norms of thought, behavior, or social relationship.
3.
the pieces of an exploded fragmentation bomb or grenade.
4.
Computers. the process, or result, of storing a file in non-contiguous sectors on a disk. As files are created, modified, deleted, etc., both the allocation of the files and the remaining free space on the disk become fragmented, slowing down data access speed on the disk.

Origin:
1880–85; fragment + -ation

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fragmentation (ˌfræɡmɛnˈteɪʃən)
 
n
1.  the act of fragmenting or the state of being fragmented
2.  the disintegration of norms regulating behaviour, thought, and social relationships
3.  the steel particles of an exploded projectile
4.  (modifier) of or relating to a weapon designed to explode into many small pieces, esp as an antipersonnel weapon: a fragmentation bomb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

fragmentation
1881, from fragment + -ation. Fragmentation grenade attested from 1918.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
fragmentation   (frāg'mən-tā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
The scattering of parts of a computer file across different regions of a disk. Fragmentation occurs when the operating system breaks up the file and stores it in locations left vacant by previously deleted files. The more fragmented the file, the slower it is to retrieve, since each piece of the file must be identified and located on the disk.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

fragmentation definition


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)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
However, predictions of imminent fragmentation into regional economic satrapies
  are greatly exaggerated.
Their explosive growth explains much of aid's fragmentation.
But all that freedom came at a well-known price: fragmentation.
The main concerns are the fragmentation of care and the quality of care.
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