GraphBLAST: A High-Performance Linear Algebra-based Graph Framework on the GPU

Carl Yang, Aydin Buluc, John D. Owens
University of California, Davis and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
arXiv:1908.01407 [cs.DC], (4 Aug 2019)


   title={GraphBLAST: A High-Performance Linear Algebra-based Graph Framework on the GPU},

   author={Carl Yang and Aydin Buluc and John D. Owens},






High-performance implementations of graph algorithms are challenging to implement on new parallel hardware such as GPUs, because of three challenges: (1) difficulty of coming up with graph building blocks, (2) load imbalance on parallel hardware, and (3) graph problems having low arithmetic ratio. To address these challenges, GraphBLAS is an innovative, on-going effort by the graph analytics community to propose building blocks based in sparse linear algebra, which will allow graph algorithms to be expressed in a performant, succinct, composable and portable manner. In this paper, we examine the performance challenges of a linear algebra-based approach to building graph frameworks and describe new design principles for overcoming these bottlenecks. Among the new design principles is emph{exploiting input sparsity}, which allows users to write graph algorithms without specifying push and pull direction. emph{Exploiting output sparsity} allows users to tell the backend which values of the output in a single vectorized computation they do not want computed. emph{Load-balancing} is an important feature for balancing work amongst parallel workers. We describe the important load-balancing features for handling graphs with different characteristics. The design principles described in this paper have been implemented in “GraphBLAST”, the first open-source linear algebra-based graph framework on GPU targeting high-performance computing. The results show that on a single GPU, GraphBLAST has on average at least an order of magnitude speedup over previous GraphBLAS implementations SuiteSparse and GBTL, comparable performance to the fastest GPU hardwired primitives and shared-memory graph frameworks Ligra and Gunrock, and better performance than any other GPU graph framework, while offering a simpler and more concise programming model.
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