[petsc-dev] Writing rich state

Jed Brown jed at 59A2.org
Wed Feb 24 09:09:20 CST 2010

On Wed, 24 Feb 2010 08:31:32 -0600, Dmitry Karpeev <karpeev at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:
> Yes, I think SQL or some such approach would be a good solution.
> I don't even think the actual file format matters too much: we can just
> create collections of files that share keys.  The database is needed only
> to manage file names.  It could also store other data, of course, but
> that's just gravy.

I think the database needs to hold a nontrivial amount of semantic
information.  For example, suppose we have a DMComposite covering
multiple domains, with some domains having more than one DM on the same
mesh (as in mixed FEM).  These DMs will share coordinate DMs and the
associated position vectors (which may be time-dependent).  Other
metadata, such as precision, endianness, units, scaling factors, time,
and projections, would (in my opinion) also go in the database so that
everything can be wired up without opening these files, and they can be
slurped in with a single collective read.

> Yes, labels are cumbersome, since they have to be create manually, etc.
> However, when we decide where on the filesystem to place a file, we are
> essentially selecting its labels: the directories on the path.  At least those
> are *some* of the labels we'd like to attach to the file and the filesystem only
> allows "labels" encoded as directories.  I agree that it would be nice to allow
> more general queries, but based on what (permissions, timestamp? those
> sound like natural candidates)?

I wasn't thinking of filesystem metadata at all, it's the user-visible
attributes and relationship among objects in the simulation that are
significant.  We have to drop the files somewhere and give them a name,
but I'd be happy if they were just named by SHA1.  The name has no
significance since you can't do anything with it without the semantic
information in the database.


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