Thumbnail Image

A Parallel Direct Method for Finite Element Electromagnetic Computations Based on Domain Decomposition

High performance parallel computing and direct (factorization-based) solution methods have been the two main trends in electromagnetic computations in recent years. When time-harmonic (frequency-domain) Maxwell's equation are directly discretized with the Finite Element Method (FEM) or other Partial Differential Equation (PDE) methods, the resulting linear system of equations is sparse and indefinite, thus harder to efficiently factorize serially or in parallel than alternative methods e.g. integral equation solutions, that result in dense linear systems. State-of-the-art sparse matrix direct solvers such as MUMPS and PARDISO don't scale favorably, have low parallel efficiency and high memory footprint. This work introduces a new class of sparse direct solvers based on domain decomposition method, termed Direct Domain Decomposition Method (D3M), which is reliable, memory efficient, and offers very good parallel scalability for arbitrary 3D FEM problems. Unlike recent trends in approximate/low-rank solvers, this method focuses on `numerically exact' solution methods as they are more reliable for complex `real-life' models. The proposed method leverages physical insights at every stage of the development through a new symmetric domain decomposition method (DDM) with one set of Lagrange multipliers. Applying a special regularization scheme at the interfaces, either artificial loss or gain is introduced to each domain to eliminate non-physical internal resonances. A block-wise recursive algorithm based on Takahashi relationship is proposed for the efficient computation of discrete Dirichlet-to-Neumann (DtN) map to reduce the volumetric problem from all domains into an auxiliary surfacial problem defined on the domain interfaces only. Numerical results show up to 50% run-time saving in DtN map computation using the proposed block-wise recursive algorithm compared to alternative approaches. The auxiliary unknowns on the domain interfaces form a considerably (approximately an order of magnitude) smaller block-wise sparse matrix, which is efficiently factorized using a customized block LDL$^T$ factorization with restricted pivoting to ensure stability. The parallelization of the proposed D3M is realized based on Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). Recent advances in parallel dense direct solvers, have shifted toward parallel implementation that rely on DAG scheduling to achieve highly efficient asynchronous parallel execution. However, adaptation of such schemes to sparse matrices is harder and often impractical. In D3M, computation of each domain's discrete DtN map ``embarrassingly parallel'', whereas the customized block LDLT is suitable for a block directed acyclic graph (B-DAG) task scheduling, similar to that used in dense matrix parallel direct solvers. In this approach, computations are represented as a sequence of small tasks that operate on domains of DDM or dense matrix blocks of the reduced matrix. These tasks can be statically scheduled for parallel execution using their DAG dependencies and weights that depend on estimates of computation and communication costs. Comparisons with state-of-the-art exact direct solvers on electrically large problems suggest up to 20% better parallel efficiency, 30% - 3X less memory and slightly faster in runtime, while maintaining the same accuracy.
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Publisher Version
Embedded videos