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  1. Undergraduate algorithms courses are a natural setting for teaching many of the theoretical ideas of parallel computing. Mergesort is a fundamental sequential divide-and- conquer algorithm often analyzed in such courses. In this work, we present a visualization tool to help demonstrate a novel PRAM algorithm for mergesort that is work efficient and has polylogarithmic span. Our implementation uses the Thread-Safe Graphics Library, which has an existing visualization of parallel mergesort. We demonstrate that our proposed algorithm has better work and span than the one currently visualized. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2025
  2. The Tucker tensor decomposition is a natural extension of the singular value decomposition (SVD) to multiway data. We propose to accelerate Tucker tensor decomposition algorithms by using randomization and parallelization. We present two algorithms that scale to large data and many processors, significantly reduce both computation and communication cost compared to previous deterministic and randomized approaches, and obtain nearly the same approximation errors. The key idea in our algorithms is to perform randomized sketches with Kronecker-structured random matrices, which reduces computation compared to unstructured matrices and can be implemented using a fundamental tensor computational kernel. We provide probabilistic error analysis of our algorithms and implement a new parallel algorithm for the structured randomized sketch. Our experimental results demonstrate that our combination of randomization and parallelization achieves accurate Tucker decompositions much faster than alternative approaches. We observe up to a 16X speedup over the fastest deterministic parallel implementation on 3D simulation data. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 30, 2025
  3. Multiple tensor-times-matrix (Multi-TTM) is a key computation in algorithms for computing and operating with the Tucker tensor decomposition, which is frequently used in multidimensional data analysis. We establish communication lower bounds that determine how much data movement is required (under mild conditions) to perform the Multi-TTM computation in parallel. The crux of the proof relies on analytically solving a constrained, nonlinear optimization problem. We also present a parallel algorithm to perform this computation that organizes the processors into a logical grid with twice as many modes as the input tensor. We show that, with correct choices of grid dimensions, the communication cost of the algorithm attains the lower bounds and is therefore communication optimal. Finally, we show that our algorithm can significantly reduce communication compared to the straightforward approach of expressing the computation as a sequence of tensor-times-matrix operations when the input and output tensors vary greatly in size. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 31, 2025
  4. In this paper, we focus on the parallel communication cost of multiplying a matrix with its transpose, known as a symmetric rank-k update (SYRK). SYRK requires half the computation of general matrix multiplication because of the symmetry of the output matrix. Recent work (Beaumont et al., SPAA '22) has demonstrated that the sequential I/O complexity of SYRK is also a constant factor smaller than that of general matrix multiplication. Inspired by this progress, we establish memory-independent parallel communication lower bounds for SYRK with smaller constants than general matrix multiplication, and we show that these constants are tight by presenting communication-optimal algorithms. The crux of the lower bound proof relies on extending a key geometric inequality to symmetric computations and analytically solving a constrained nonlinear optimization problem. The optimal algorithms use a triangular blocking scheme for parallel distribution of the symmetric output matrix and corresponding computation. 
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  5. The CP tensor decomposition is used in applications such as machine learning and signal processing to discover latent low-rank structure in multidimensional data. Computing a CP decomposition via an alternating least squares (ALS) method reduces the problem to several linear least squares problems. The standard way to solve these linear least squares subproblems is to use the normal equations, which inherit special tensor structure that can be exploited for computational efficiency. However, the normal equations are sensitive to numerical ill-conditioning, which can compromise the results of the decomposition. In this paper, we develop versions of the CP-ALS algorithm using the QR decomposition and the singular value decomposition, which are more numerically stable than the normal equations, to solve the linear least squares problems. Our algorithms utilize the tensor structure of the CP-ALS subproblems efficiently, have the same complexity as the standard CP-ALS algorithm when the input is dense and the rank is small, and are shown via examples to produce more stable results when ill-conditioning is present. Our MATLAB implementation achieves the same running time as the standard algorithm for small ranks, and we show that the new methods can obtain lower approximation error. 
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  6. Communication lower bounds have long been established for matrix multiplication algorithms. However, most methods of asymptotic analysis have either ignored the constant factors or not obtained the tightest possible values. Recent work has demonstrated that more careful analysis improves the best known constants for some classical matrix multiplication lower bounds and helps to identify more efficient algorithms that match the leading-order terms in the lower bounds exactly and improve practical performance. The main result of this work is the establishment of memory-independent communication lower bounds with tight constants for parallel matrix multiplication. Our constants improve on previous work in each of three cases that depend on the relative sizes of the aspect ratios of the matrices. 
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