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Open Trace Format (OTF)

Detailed program analysis of massively parallel programs requires the recording of event based performance data during run-time and its visualisation with appropriate software tools like the Vampir framework. The specification of a powerful trace file format has to fulfill a large number of requirements. It must allow an efficient collection of the event based performance data on a parallel program environment. On the other hand it has to provide a fast and comprehensive access to the large amount of performance data and the corresponding event definitions by the analysis software tools.

To improve scalability for very large and massively parallel traces the Open Trace Format (OTF) is developed at ZIH as a successor format to the Vampir Trace Format (VTF3).

The Open Trace Format makes use of a portable ASCII encoding. It distributes single traces to multiple so called streams with one or more files each. Merging of records from multiple files is done transparently by the OTF library. The number of possible streams is not limited by the number of available file handles. The read/write library should be used as a portable interface for third party software. The library supports efficient parallel and distributed access to trace data and offers selective reading access regarding arbitrary time intervals, process selection and record types. Optional auxiliary information can assist this selective access.

In addition, the software package contains tools for trace date conversion or preparation. More information can be found in the provided documentation.

The OTF software is developed in cooperation with the University of Oregon and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. It is available as open source software under the BSD license.

Latest stable release

A list of all important changes can be found in the file ChangeLog.

Previous releases

Older stable releases are still available in the archive.


As a successor of OTF the enhanced Open Trace Format 2 (OTF2) is available in the context of the new Scalable Performance Measurement Infrastructure Score-P.


Dr. Andreas Knüpfer

Last modified: 01.06.2015 11:12
Author: Hartmut Mix



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