Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Mathematics

First Advisor

Per-Gunnar Martinsson

Second Advisor

Keith Julien

Third Advisor

David M. Bortz


Randomized sampling techniques have recently proved capable of efficiently solving many standard problems in linear algebra, and enabling computations at scales far larger than what was previously possible. The new algorithms are designed from the bottom up to perform well in modern computing environments where the expense of communication is the primary constraint. In extreme cases, the algorithms can even be made to work in a streaming environment where the matrix is not stored at all, and each element can be seen only once. The dissertation describes a set of randomized techniques for rapidly constructing a low-rank ap- proximation to a matrix. The algorithms are presented in a modular framework that first computes an approximation to the range of the matrix via randomized sampling. Secondly, the matrix is pro- jected to the approximate range, and a factorization (SVD, QR, LU, etc.) of the resulting low-rank matrix is computed via variations of classical deterministic methods. Theoretical performance bounds are provided. Particular attention is given to very large scale computations where the matrix does not fit in RAM on a single workstation. Algorithms are developed for the case where the original matrix must be stored out-of-core but where the factors of the approximation fit in RAM. Numerical examples are provided that perform Principal Component Analysis of a data set that is so large that less than one hundredth of it can fit in the RAM of a standard laptop computer. Furthermore, the dissertation presents a parallelized randomized scheme for computing a reduced rank Singular Value Decomposition. By parallelizing and distributing both the randomized sampling stage and the processing of the factors in the approximate factorization, the method requires an amount of memory per node which is independent of both dimensions of the input matrix. Numerical experiments are performed on Hadoop clusters of computers in Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud with up to 64 total cores. Finally, we directly compare the performance and accuracy of the randomized algorithm with the classical Lanczos method on extremely large, sparse matrices and substantiate the claim that randomized methods are superior in this environment.

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Mathematics Commons