GPU Acceleration of Matrix-based Methods in Computational Electromagnetics

Evan Lezar
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland, South Africa
Stellenbosch University, 2011


   title={GPU acceleration of matrix-based methods in computational electromagnetics},

   author={Lezar, E.},


   publisher={Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch}


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This work considers the acceleration of matrix-based computational electromagnetic (CEM) techniques using graphics processing units (GPUs). These massively parallel processors have gained much support since late 2006, with software tools such as CUDA and OpenCL greatly simplifying the process of harnessing the computational power of these devices. As with any advances in computation, the use of these devices enables the modelling of more complex problems, which in turn should give rise to better solutions to a number of global challenges faced at present. For the purpose of this dissertation, CUDA is used in an investigation of the acceleration of two methods in CEM that are used to tackle a variety of problems. The first of these is the Method of Moments (MOM) which is typically used to model radiation and scattering problems, with the latter begin considered here. For the CUDA acceleration of the MOM presented here, the assembly and subsequent solution of the matrix equation associated with the method are considered. This is done for both single and double precision floating point matrices. For the solution of the matrix equation, general dense linear algebra techniques are used, which allow for the use of a vast expanse of existing knowledge on the subject. This also means that implementations developed here along with the results presented are immediately applicable to the same wide array of applications where these methods are employed. Both the assembly and solution of the matrix equation implementations presented result in significant speedups over multi-core CPU implementations, with speedups of up to 300x and 10x, respectively, being measured. The implementations presented also overcome one of the major limitations in the use of GPUs as accelerators – that of limited memory capacity – with problems up to 16 times larger than would normally be possible being solved. The second matrix-based technique considered is the Finite Element Method (FEM), which allows for the accurate modelling of complex geometric structures including non-uniform dielectric and magnetic properties of materials, and is particularly well suited to handling bounded structures such as waveguide. In this work the CUDA acceleration of the cutoff and dispersion analysis of three waveguide configurations is presented. The modelling of these problems using an open-source software package, FEniCS, is also discussed. Once again, the problem can be approached from a linear algebra perspective, with the formulation in this case resulting in a generalised eigenvalue (GEV) problem. For the problems considered, a total solution speedup of up to 7x is measured for the solution of the generalised eigenvalue problem, with up to 22x being attained for the solution of the standard eigenvalue problem that forms part of the GEV problem.
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