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Relaxing the Problem-Size Bound for Out-of-Core Columnsort
Geeta Chaudhry, Elizabeth A. Hamon, Thomas H. Cormen
Dartmouth TR2003-445

Abstract: Previous implementations of out-of-core columnsort limit the problem size to $N \leq \sqrt{(M/P)^3 / 2}$, where $N$ is the number of records to sort, $P$ is the number of processors, and $M$ is the total number of records that the entire system can hold in its memory (so that $M/P$ is the number of records that a single processor can hold in its memory). We implemented two variations to out-of-core columnsort that relax this restriction. Subblock columnsort is based on an algorithmic modification of the underlying columnsort algorithm, and it improves the problem-size bound to $N \leq (M/P)^{5/3} / 4^{2/3}$ but at the cost of additional disk I/O\@. $M$-columnsort changes the notion of the column size in columnsort, improving the maximum problem size to $N \leq \sqrt{M^3 / 2}$ but at the cost of additional computation and communication. Experimental results on a Beowulf cluster show that both subblock columnsort and $M$-columnsort run well but that $M$-columnsort is faster. A further advantage of $M$-columnsort is that it handles a wider range of problem sizes than subblock columnsort.

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   Geeta Chaudhry, Elizabeth A. Hamon, and Thomas H. Cormen, "Relaxing the Problem-Size Bound for Out-of-Core Columnsort." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2003-445, April 2003.

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