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Communications of the ACM


Write Amplification vs. Read Perspiration

sweating man writing at desk, illustration

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Increasingly in computing systems, when you write something into durable storage it is in need of reorganization later. Personally, I'm pretty darned disorganized and I lose stuff a lot. This causes extensive searching, sometimes to no avail. It is, however, easier to "store" stuff by setting it down wherever I feel like it.

In computing, there is an interesting trend where writing creates a need to do more work. You need to reorganize, merge, reindex, and more to make the stuff you wrote more useful. If you don't, you must search or do other work to support future reads.


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