Problems involving massive amounts of data arise naturally in a variety of disciplines, such as spatial databases, geographic information systems, constraint logic programming, object-oriented databases, statistics, virtual reality systems, and computer graphics. NASA's Earth Observing System project, the core part of the Earth Science Enterprise (formerly Mission to Planet Earth), produces petabytes (1015 bytes) of raster data per year! A major challenge is to develop mechanisms for processing the data efficiently, or else much of it will be useless The bottleneck in many applications that process massive amounts of data is the Input/Output (or I/O) communication between internal memory and external memory. The bottleneck is accentuated as processors get faster and parallel processors are used. Parallel disk arrays are often used to increase the I/O bandwidth. The goal of this research is to deepen the understanding of the limits of I/O systems and to construct external memory algorithms that are provably efficient. The three measures of performance are number of I/Os, disk storage space, and CPU time. Theoretical work will consist of the development and analysis of provably efficient external memory algorithms for a variety of important application areas. Several batched and on-line geometric problems will be addressed, including real-life problems from environmental applications. Techniques for innovative use of wavelets in an external memory setting will be explored. Models and technique will be developed to answer practical issues such as how to design algorithms to be robust to changing memory allocations. Focus is both on theoretical development and experimental validation. The TPIE programming environment will be enhanced and used to implement the external memory algorithms that are developed.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Computer and Communication Foundations (CCF)
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David Du
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Purdue University
West Lafayette
United States
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