The ELPA library: scalable parallel eigenvalue solutions for electronic structure theory and computational science.

Journal Article (Review)

Obtaining the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of large matrices is a key problem in electronic structure theory and many other areas of computational science. The computational effort formally scales as O(N(3)) with the size of the investigated problem, N (e.g. the electron count in electronic structure theory), and thus often defines the system size limit that practical calculations cannot overcome. In many cases, more than just a small fraction of the possible eigenvalue/eigenvector pairs is needed, so that iterative solution strategies that focus only on a few eigenvalues become ineffective. Likewise, it is not always desirable or practical to circumvent the eigenvalue solution entirely. We here review some current developments regarding dense eigenvalue solvers and then focus on the Eigenvalue soLvers for Petascale Applications (ELPA) library, which facilitates the efficient algebraic solution of symmetric and Hermitian eigenvalue problems for dense matrices that have real-valued and complex-valued matrix entries, respectively, on parallel computer platforms. ELPA addresses standard as well as generalized eigenvalue problems, relying on the well documented matrix layout of the Scalable Linear Algebra PACKage (ScaLAPACK) library but replacing all actual parallel solution steps with subroutines of its own. For these steps, ELPA significantly outperforms the corresponding ScaLAPACK routines and proprietary libraries that implement the ScaLAPACK interface (e.g. Intel's MKL). The most time-critical step is the reduction of the matrix to tridiagonal form and the corresponding backtransformation of the eigenvectors. ELPA offers both a one-step tridiagonalization (successive Householder transformations) and a two-step transformation that is more efficient especially towards larger matrices and larger numbers of CPU cores. ELPA is based on the MPI standard, with an early hybrid MPI-OpenMPI implementation available as well. Scalability beyond 10,000 CPU cores for problem sizes arising in the field of electronic structure theory is demonstrated for current high-performance computer architectures such as Cray or Intel/Infiniband. For a matrix of dimension 260,000, scalability up to 295,000 CPU cores has been shown on BlueGene/P.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Marek, A; Blum, V; Johanni, R; Havu, V; Lang, B; Auckenthaler, T; Heinecke, A; Bungartz, H-J; Lederer, H

Published Date

  • May 2, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 21

Start / End Page

  • 213201 -

PubMed ID

  • 24786764

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-648X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0953-8984

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/0953-8984/26/21/213201


  • eng