Analysis of multigrid methods on massively parallel computers: Architectural implications

Lesley R. Matheson

NEC Research Institute, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540

Robert E. Tarjan

Department of Computer Science, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544


We study the potential performance of multigrid algorithms running on massively parallel computers with the intent of discovering whether presently envisioned machines will provide an efficient platform for such algorithms. We consider the domain parallel version of the standard V-cycle algorithm on model problems, discretized using finite difference techniques in two and three dimensions on block structured grids of size 10^6 and 10^9, respectively. Our models of parallel computation were developed to reflect the computing characteristics of the current generation of massively parallel multicomputers. These models are based on an interconnection network of 256 to 16,384 message passing, "workstation size" processors executing in a SPMD mode. The first model accomplishes interprocessor communications through a multistage permutation network. The communication cost is a logarithmic function which similar to the costs in a variety of different topologies. The second model allows single stage communication costs only. Both models were designed with information provided by machine developers and utilize implementation derived parameters. With the medium grain parallelism of the current generation and the high fixed cost of an interprocessor communication, our analysis suggests an efficient implementation requires the machine to support the efficient transmission of long messages, (up to 1000 words) or the high initiation cost of a communication must be significantly reduced through an alternative optimization technique. Furthermore, with variable length message capability, our analysis suggests the low diameter multistage networks provide little or no advantage over a simple single stage communications network.