This article is from the storage FAQ part2, by Rodney D. Van Meter with numerous contributions by others.
This discussion comes up occassionally on comp.arch and comp.os.research. I don't know which newsgroups/mailing lists the PIO (Parallel I/O) people hang out in, but it doesn't seem to be here. They show up occassionally in comp.sys.super and comp.parallel. They do have their own conferences, though. The important work seems to be going on with the supercomputing gang -- LLNL, CMU, Caltech, UIUC, Dartmouth, ORNL, SNL, etc. Work is also being done by the parallel database community, including vendors such as Teradata. A paper presented at the ACM International Supercomputing Conference in 1993 showed what to me seemed to be pretty appalling performance for reading data and distributing it to multiple processors on an Intel Delta supercomputer (sorry I don't have the reference in front of me). (rdv, 94/8/12) The paper is old, now, and the Intel guys say they have improved performance to up to 130 MB/sec. on the new Paragon using their Parallel File System (PFS). There is an excellent web site on parallel I/O at Dartmouth: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/pario.html There is also a mailing list housed at Dartmouth, email@example.com. The annual conference is I/O in Parallel and Distributed Systems (IOPADS); 1997's is co-located with Supercomputing '97 in San Jose, Nov. 17. Papers are due March 25, 1997. See http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/iopads.