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4 16 64 256

Idle time (seconds) Cache size (MB)

4K cache blocks

8K cache blocks

Figure 8: Idle time while running two instances of venus with varying cache sizes.

Execution time would be 761 seconds if there were no idle time.

7 Conclusions

While much attention has been given to CPU performance in supercomputers, the I/O system, which includes the file cache, SSD, disks, and tape storage, will play an increasingly larger role in utilizing the CPU efficiently. We have examined several high-I/O demand supercomputer applications and shown that they are highly sequential and very regular in their access patterns. This information can be used to better design a supercomputer I/O system to fully utilize a supercomputer CPU, as our buffering simulations show. With a large SSD, only one or two processes per processor are needed to keep the CPU fully utilized. While main memory sizes may not scale as fast as processor speed, SSD sizes may scale more closely as constraints on physical size, distance from the CPU, and access speed of short accesses are not as stringent for an SSD. By implementing read-ahead and writebehind in a supercomputer's file system and using a solid-state disk, a few very large processes staging data to and from secondary storage can keep supercomputer CPUs busy.


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