following is an introduction to Java Matrix
Benchmark (JMatBench) with a few results from the latest update. JMatBench compares
different linear algebra libraries that process dense real matrices written in
Java for speed, stability and memory usage.
First an introduction to the
problem being address is provided, followed by a description for how the
results are computed and displayed, and finally the some of the more results.
complete set of results across different architectures visit the project
Java has an
active community of developers creating tools for scientific computing, which
includes linear algebra. Linear algebra
is the study of solving systems of linear equations. Linear algebra provides the fundamental
building blocks for several other problems such as optimization, model fitting,
and filtering. It has applications to a
wide range of fields that include, machine learning, aerospace engineering,
finance, computer vision, and many more.
represent these systems of linear equations matrix notation is used. A dense matrix explicitly stores every
element in the matrix, while a sparse matrix only stores elements which are not
zero. In some specialized problems
sparse matrices can provide significant gains in performance, but dense
matrices are applicable to all linear algebra problems. In this article only dense real matrices are
are many tools available in Java for solving these systems, which ones should
be used? Perhaps the most popular and
well known is Jama, however Jama has not been maintained since 2005. To help answer that question and provide
developers with motivation to continue to improve their libraries, Java Matrix
Benchmark (JMatBench) was developed at the end of 2009.
evaluates the runtime performance, stability, and memory usage of each
library. The primary developer of
JMatBench is Peter Abeles (also developer of EJML), but has been improved through
discussions with other library authors, such has Anders Peterson (ojAlgo) and Holger
Arndt (UJMP). The most recent results
from March 2012 evaluated the performance of the following libraries:
these libraries are written entirely in Java.
The one exception is jBlas which invokes native code to provide superior
performance on larger matrices.
Measuring Runtime performance
Throughout the history of linear algebra, the focus has been
on improving the performance for large matrices. At the same time small matrices are important
for many problems as well, for example in computer vision and aerospace. To address both problems a range of matrix
sizes (2 to 10,000) are evaluated and displayed in a relative runtime plot.
An example of a relative runtime plot is shown below. Faster libraries will have a number closer to
one while slow libraries will have a number closer to zero. These numbers are computed by finding the
number of operations per second that each library can perform at each matrix
size. Then for each matrix size the
results are normalized by the best performing library. More traditional approaches of displaying results,
such as FLOPS, scale poorly as a function of matrix size (even when log plots
are used) making it difficult to see which library is performing best at which
Example of a relative runtime plot.
which libraries are fastest depend on matrix size. That’s because different techniques are
required to optimize performance for different sized matrices. The libraries that perform best tend to
switch between different algorithms depending on matrix size.
people see the forest through all the trees, overall results are summarized in
a box and whisker plot. The overall
results combine performance across all operations tested, while placing more emphasis
on computationally expensive operations.
In additional results are summarized across all matrix sizes, only large
matrices, and only small matrices.
measuring the runtime performance in Java is a tricky issue. For example, if
the same operation is measured at different since in the same virtual machine
(VM) instance, the order in which they are processed will affect the
performance what most people focus on when selecting which library to use, this
is a mistake. It does not matter how
fast a library is if it produces garbage results. Stability of an algorithm is the measure of
how sensitive it is to small changes in input.
A stable algorithm will produce a small change in output for a small
change in input. Two of the primary sources of instability in linear algebra there
are nearly singular systems and numerical
the stability of each library several common operations were selected and are
sent through a battery of tests. This
benchmark has been shown to be particularly at detecting bugs in a library
which might not be detecting at first glance.
Measuring Memory Usage
disadvantage of using dense matrices to solve problems is that they can use up
a large amount of memory. The minimum
amount of memory used by each library was found by adjusting the size of each
library’s available heap using virtual machine parameters and measuring the
actual memory usage using operating system calls. This approach was found to be the best and
most stable after a bit of experimentation.
functions tested in runtime performance are tested here. In some situations it might be possible to
reduce memory usage by calling different functions. For example, if using a row-major matrix for
a large matrix operation a library might internally convert it into a block
matrix to minimize cache misses. The
user could reduce memory usage by working exclusively with the block matrix to
Below are the summary
results and a few selected relative runtime results for a CoreI7 computer. In both the summary box and whisker plot and relative runtime plots higher values are better. More results and different architectures can be found at the links below:
As mentioned before, this is only a small sampling of the available results. If a library is omitted from a plot that means it did not support the operation or it failed. JBLAS is often the fastest because it is not written in 100% Java.
Due to formatting issues the stability results cannot be shown on this webpage. The latest stability results can be found at the website below:
Shorter bars are better. Click here for complete results.
Hope that this introduction to Java Matrix Benchmark was helpful. If anything is not clear please post a comment below. As mentioned several times already, the results presented here are only a brief summary of what's available at the project webpage.