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Oracle uses temporary space for a few operations such as sorting, performing hash joins, and creating bitmap indexes. The amount of sort space that each Oracle process can use in memory is determined by the SORT_AREA_SIZE, HASH_AREA_SIZE, and CREATE_BITMAP_AREA_SIZE parameters. In Oracle 9i, the new PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET parameter takes the place of all of these. To increase the amount of space that Oracle can use in memory, before using disk space as staging areas for the work, increase the appropriate INIT.ORA parameter.
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