Low-level Interfaces for High-level Parallel I/O


Nils Nieuwejaar and David Kotz. Low-level Interfaces for High-level Parallel I/O. Input/Output in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems, chapter 9, pages 205–223. Edited by Ravi Jain, John Werth, and James C. Browne. Volume 362 in The Kluwer International Series in Engineering and Computer Science, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996. ISBN13: 978-1-4613-1401-1. ©Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers. Revision of nieuwejaar:strided2.


As the I/O needs of parallel scientific applications increase, file systems for multiprocessors are being designed to provide applications with parallel access to multiple disks. Many parallel file systems present applications with a conventional Unix-like interface that allows the application to access multiple disks transparently. By tracing all the activity of a parallel file system in a production, scientific computing environment, we show that many applications exhibit highly regular, but non-consecutive I/O access patterns. Since the conventional interface does not provide an efficient method of describing these patterns, we present three extensions to the interface that support strided, nested-strided, and nested-batched I/O requests. We show how these extensions can be used to express common access patterns.

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