Mesh partitioning and load-balancing for distributed memory parallel systems

C. Walshaw, M. Cross and M. G. Everett

April '97


A method is outlined for optimising graph partitions which arise in mapping unstructured mesh calculations to parallel computers. The method employs a relative gain iterative technique to both evenly balance the workload and minimise the number and volume of interprocessor communications. A parallel graph reduction technique is also briefly described and can be used to give a global perspective to the optimisation. The algorithms work efficiently in parallel as well as sequentially and when combined with a fast direct partitioning technique (such as the Greedy algorithm) to give an initial partition, the resulting two-stage process proves itself to be both a powerful and flexible solution to the static graph-partitioning problem. Experiments indicate that the resulting parallel code can provide high quality partitions, independent of the initial partition, within a few seconds. The algorithms can also be used for dynamic load-balancing, reusing existing partitions and in this case the procedures are much faster than static techniques, provide partitions of similar or higher quality and, in comparison, involve the migration of a fraction of the data.

Key words. graph-partitioning, unstructured meshes, load-balancing, parallel scientific computation.

Fri Aug 13 13:40:07 BST 2004