“Multiscale cholesky preconditioning for ill-conditioned problems” by Chen, Schäfer, Huang and Desbrun

  • ©Jiong Chen, Florian Schäfer, Jin Huang, and Mathieu Desbrun




    Multiscale cholesky preconditioning for ill-conditioned problems



    Many computer graphics applications boil down to solving sparse systems of linear equations. While the current arsenal of numerical solvers available in various specialized libraries and for different computer architectures often allow efficient and scalable solutions to image processing, modeling and simulation applications, an increasing number of graphics problems face large-scale and ill-conditioned sparse linear systems — a numerical challenge which typically chokes both direct factorizations (due to high memory requirements) and iterative solvers (because of slow convergence). We propose a novel approach to the efficient preconditioning of such problems which often emerge from the discretization over unstructured meshes of partial differential equations with heterogeneous and anisotropic coefficients. Our numerical approach consists in simply performing a fine-to-coarse ordering and a multiscale sparsity pattern of the degrees of freedom, using which we apply an incomplete Cholesky factorization. By further leveraging supernodes for cache coherence, graph coloring to improve parallelism and partial diagonal shifting to remedy negative pivots, we obtain a preconditioner which, combined with a conjugate gradient solver, far exceeds the performance of existing carefully-engineered libraries for graphics problems involving bad mesh elements and/or high contrast of coefficients. We also back the core concepts behind our simple solver with theoretical foundations linking the recent method of operator-adapted wavelets used in numerical homogenization to the traditional Cholesky factorization of a matrix, providing us with a clear bridge between incomplete Cholesky factorization and multiscale analysis that we leverage numerically.


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