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Scientific Programming
Volume 20 (2012), Issue 3, Pages 241-255

Amesos2 and Belos: Direct and Iterative Solvers for Large Sparse Linear Systems

Eric Bavier,1 Mark Hoemmen,2 Sivasankaran Rajamanickam,2 and Heidi Thornquist2

1Cray Inc., St. Paul, MN, USA
2Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Solvers for large sparse linear systems come in two categories: direct and iterative. Amesos2, a package in the Trilinos software project, provides direct methods, and Belos, another Trilinos package, provides iterative methods. Amesos2 offers a common interface to many different sparse matrix factorization codes, and can handle any implementation of sparse matrices and vectors, via an easy-to-extend C++ traits interface. It can also factor matrices whose entries have arbitrary “Scalar” type, enabling extended-precision and mixed-precision algorithms. Belos includes many different iterative methods for solving large sparse linear systems and least-squares problems. Unlike competing iterative solver libraries, Belos completely decouples the algorithms from the implementations of the underlying linear algebra objects. This lets Belos exploit the latest hardware without changes to the code. Belos favors algorithms that solve higher-level problems, such as multiple simultaneous linear systems and sequences of related linear systems, faster than standard algorithms. The package also supports extended-precision and mixed-precision algorithms. Together, Amesos2 and Belos form a complete suite of sparse linear solvers.