A Collaborative Project Involving Fujitsu European Centre for Information Technology (FECIT), the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) and the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. This project ran from Feb 1997 until Feb 1998.
The technology of parallel processing has matured to the stage where for many computationally intensive problems it is the method of choice. Techniques of parallel I/O have not however kept in step with these developments and applications may soon become I/O bound. An important development in this field was the publication of the MPI-2 standard which contains a chapter on I/O (referred to as MPI-I/O) and presently this is the best way of portably implementing parallel I/O at the application programming level. MPI-1 has been widely taken up in the community and provided MPI-2 is similarly adopted it will form an important basis for parallel I/O.
With this situation in mind, and for the purposes of this project, the ECMWF IFS weather code was ported to use MPI-I/O on the Fujitsu VP700. In order to test the resulting I/O performance Southampton and FECIT developed a suite of tools that provide timing and instrumentation measurements. The aim of the project was to use these tools to analyse the I/O performance in detail: at the system, MPI implementation and application levels. These tools also make it possible, for the first time, to make comparisons of parallel I/O between widely dissimilar systems.
The Southampton home page for this project may be found here.