Scalable design and implementations for MPI parallel overlapping I/O

Wei Keng Liao*, Kenin Coloma, Alok Choudhary, Lee Ward, Eric Russell, Neil Pundit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigate the Message Passing Interface Input/Output (MPI I/O) implementation issues for two overlapping access patterns: the overlaps among processes within a single I/O operation and the overlaps across a sequence of I/O operations. The former case considers whether I/O atomicity can be obtained in the overlapping regions. The latter focuses on the file consistency problem on parallel machines with client-side file caching enabled. Traditional solutions for both overlapping I/O problems use whole file or byte-range file locking to ensure exclusive access to the overlapping regions and bypass the file system cache. Unfortunately, not only can file locking serialize I/O, but it can also increase the aggregate communication overhead between clients and I/O servers. For atomicity, we first differentiate MPI's requirements from the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) standard and propose two scalable approaches, graph coloring and process-rank ordering, which can resolve access conflicts and maintain I/O parallelism. For solving the file consistency problem across multiple I/O operations, we propose a method called Persistent File Domains, which tackles cache coherency with additional information and coordination to guarantee safe cache access without using file locks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1264-1276
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Atomic I/O
  • Cache coherence
  • File atomicity
  • File consistency
  • MPI
  • MPI I/O
  • Overlapping I/O

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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