In my previous understanding, if a RAM program requires $T$ read/write operations to memory during its execution, then the runtime of this RAM program is $T$. However, as I have read some literature, I have realized that my understanding may not be correct.
For instance, there is a paper mentioning a $T$-time RAM program that can be transformed into a circuit of size $O(T^3 \log T)$. This is a result from complexity theory. However, if $T$ only represents the number of memory read/write operations, then this result is evidently incorrect because the size of the circuit when not performing read/write operations may be very large.
Therefore, what exactly $T$ represents? Thank you, everyone.