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The dynamics of the ramp discharge is studied via kinetic particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo simulations. It is shown that a plasma display panel cell is a fundamentally "small" system and fluctuations of the number of charged particles in the discharge gap strongly influence the dynamics of the ramp discharge and may even lead to its disruption. The common view of ramps based on multicell or time averaged measurements and corresponding fluid theoretical descriptions are inadequate. The role of exoemission as a possible stabilizer of the discharge is clarified.