The most expensive procedures in Krylov methods are matrix-vector products (y ← Ax) and vector operations (dot products, vector norms, y ← αx + βy). Therefore they directly affect the efficiency of the methods provided by Krylov.jl. In this section, we present various optimizations based on multithreading to speed up these procedures. Multithreading is a form of shared memory parallelism that makes use of multiple cores to perform tasks.

Multi-threaded BLAS and LAPACK operations

OPENBLAS_NUM_THREADS=N julia  # Set the number of OpenBLAS threads to N
MKL_NUM_THREADS=N julia       # Set the number of MKL threads to N

If you don't know the maximum number of threads available on your computer, you can obtain it with


and define the number of OpenBLAS/MKL threads at runtine with

BLAS.set_num_threads(N)  # 1 ≤ N ≤ NMAX

The recommended number of BLAS threads is the number of physical and not logical cores, which is in general N = NMAX / 2 if your CPU supports simultaneous multithreading (SMT).

By default Julia ships with OpenBLAS but it's also possible to use Intel MKL BLAS and LAPACK with MKL.jl.

using LinearAlgebra
BLAS.vendor()  # get_config() for Julia ≥ 1.7

Multi-threaded sparse matrix-vector products

For sparse matrices, the Julia implementation of mul! of SparseArrays library is not parallelized. A siginifiant speed-up can be observed with the multhreaded mul! of MKLSparse.jl.

It's also possible to implement a generic multithreaded julia version. For instance, the following function can be used for symmetric matrices

using Base.Threads

function threaded_mul!(y::Vector{T}, A::SparseMatrixCSC{T}, x::Vector{T}) where T <: Number
  A.m == A.n || error("A is not a square matrix!")
  @threads for i = 1 : A.n
    tmp = zero(T)
    @inbounds for j = A.colptr[i] : (A.colptr[i+1] - 1)
      tmp += A.nzval[j] * x[A.rowval[j]]
    @inbounds y[i] = tmp
  return y

and wrapped inside a linear operator to solve symmetric linear systems

using LinearOperators

n, m = size(A)
sym = herm = true
T = eltype(A)
opA = LinearOperator(T, n, m, sym, herm, (y, v) -> threaded_mul!(y, A, v))

To enable multi-threading with Julia, you can start julia with the environment variable JULIA_NUM_THREADS or the options -t and --threads

julia -t auto  # alternative: --threads auto
julia -t N     # alternative: --threads N


Thereafter, you can verify the number of threads usable by Julia

using Base.Threads

The following benchmarks illustrate the time required in seconds to compute 1000 sparse matrix-vector products with symmetric matrices of the SuiteSparse Matrix Collection. The computer used for the benchmarks has 2 physical cores and Julia was launched with JULIA_NUM_THREADS=2.