Taming massive distributed datasets: Data sampling using bitmap indices

Yu Su, Gagan Agrawal, Jonathan Woodring, Kary Myers, Joanne Wendelberger, James Ahrens

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

20 Scopus citations


With growing computational capabilities of parallel machines, scientific simulations are being performed at finer spatial and temporal scales, leading to a data explosion. The growing sizes are making it extremely hard to store, manage, disseminate, analyze, and visualize these datasets, especially as neither the memory capacity of parallel machines, memory access speeds, nor disk bandwidths are increasing at the same rate as the computing power. Sampling can be an effective technique to address the above challenges, but it is extremely important to ensure that dataset characteristics are preserved, and the loss of accuracy is within acceptable levels. In this paper, we address the data explosion problems by developing a novel sampling approach, and implementing it in a flexible system that supports server-side sampling and data subsetting. We observe that to allow subsetting over scientific datasets, data repositories are likely to use an indexing technique. Among these techniques, we see that bitmap indexing can not only effectively support subsetting over scientific datasets, but can also help create samples that preserve both value and spatial distributions over scientific datasets. We have developed algorithms for using bitmap indices to sample datasets. We have also shown how only a small amount of additional metadata stored with bitvectors can help assess loss of accuracy with a particular subsampling level. Some of the other properties of this novel approach include: 1) sampling can be flexibly applied to a subset of the original dataset, which may be specified using a value-based and/or a dimension-based subsetting predicate, and 2) no data reorganization is needed, once bitmap indices have been generated. We have extensively evaluated our method with different types of datasets and applications, and demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd ACM International Symposium on High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing, HPDC 2013 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2013Jun 21 2013


Conference22nd ACM International Symposium on High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing, HPDC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York, NY


  • big data
  • bitmap indexing
  • data sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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