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# Data Formats
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I/O continues to be one of the main bottlenecks for scientific
applications.  Here are two software packages that many application
developers use to manage input/output of heterogeneous types of binary
application data used on many different platforms.  HDF5 and NETCDF
are both implemented on top of MPI‐IO and have gained popularity as
alternatives to basic POSIX API.  HDF5 is a machine-independent and
self-documenting file format. Each HDF5 file "looks" like a directory
tree, with subdirectories, and leaf nodes that contain the actual
data. This means that data can be found in a file by referring to its
name, rather than its location in the file.  NetCDF is a file format
and support library developed at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research (NCAR).  Like HDF5, NetCDF is self-describing and portable
across platforms.
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* [HDF5](../programming/libraries/hdf5/index.md)