Asked Dec 12, 2019

Explain the difference in the C memory model between global and local variables. How is each allocated and accessed?


Expert Answer

Step 1

C memory-model:

The C memory-model can be classified into three types:

  • Memory allocation in heap
  • Global memory allocation
  • Memory allocation in the stack


The memory allocation in Heap is used to allocate the memory to the variables dynamically.

The memory allocation in Stack is used to allocate the memory for local variables.    

When a variable is declared as global, it means that the variable can be accessed in the whole program.

Step 2

Global variables: The variables which can be accessed in any function defined in the program are known as global variables. They are declared outside the function (just after the header files).  

For ex-

#include <stdio.h>

int x = 4;

                Int y= 6;

                public int sum()


return x+y;


According to the above example, the variables x and y are declared as the global variable as they are defined outside the function int sum() but are accessed in the mentioned function. The values of the variables can be changed as they are not static variables. Also, these variables can be accessed within any function defined in the program.

Note: if the value of the global variable is changed in one function than this change is visible in the entire program.

Step 3

Local variables: The variables which cannot be accessed outside the scope of the function in which they are declared are known as local variables.

The local variables only exist until the function is under execution. After the execution, they are destroyed. The local variables can only be modified (change the value of the variables) in the function in which they are declared.

The local variables are created on Stack.

For ex-

public int sum()


int x = 6;...

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