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Scientific Programming
Volume 21 (2013), Issue 3-4, Pages 181-195

A Framework for Low-Communication 1-D FFT

Ping Tak Peter Tang, Jongsoo Park, Daehyun Kim, and Vladimir Petrov

Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, CA, USA

Copyright © 2013 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.


In high-performance computing on distributed-memory systems, communication often represents a significant part of the overall execution time. The relative cost of communication will certainly continue to rise as compute-density growth follows the current technology and industry trends. Design of lower-communication alternatives to fundamental computational algorithms has become an important field of research. For distributed 1-D FFT, communication cost has hitherto remained high as all industry-standard implementations perform three all-to-all internode data exchanges (also called global transposes). These communication steps indeed dominate execution time. In this paper, we present a mathematical framework from which many single-all-to-all and easy-to-implement 1-D FFT algorithms can be derived. For large-scale problems, our implementation can be twice as fast as leading FFT libraries on state-of-the-art computer clusters. Moreover, our framework allows tradeoff between accuracy and performance, further boosting performance if reduced accuracy is acceptable.