Two level chunking#
Why is it important?#
When implementing data containers supporting transparent compression, a common technique is to split the containers in so-called chunks. This allows for avoiding to decompress the whole container for accessing just a subset of elements. Here it is an example of such a chunked data container for an array of shape (300, 400, 400) and whose chunk shape is (100, 100, 100):
Still, one of the drawbacks of chunking is that it stills requires to retrieve complete chunks even when we are requiring a thinner slice of data. For example, if we require the plane of data where dim0 == 140, we should be reading (and decompressing) the next (rather big) yellow slice:
With a two level chunking, we are splitting the original chunk again, and we are getting another subdivision of chunks:
Now the chunks have been split in so-called blocks. In this case, the shape of these blocks is (25, 25, 25), so that means that a single chunk is made by 4 * 4 * 4 = 64 blocks.
With that, let’s see the amount of data that needs to be retrieved and decompressed (painted in yellow) for the plane dim0 == 140, with one level of chunking on the left vs two level of chunking on the right:
This is essentially why the two level chunking can lead to less reads and hence, better performance.
You can see some benchmarks on the double partitioning in the slicing benchmark.