BoomerAMG is a parallel implementation of the algebraic multigrid method [RuSt1987]. It can be used both as a solver or as a preconditioner. The user can choose between various different parallel coarsening techniques, interpolation and relaxation schemes. While the default settings work fairly well for two-dimensional diffusion problems, for three-dimensional diffusion problems, it is recommended to choose a lower complexity coarsening like HMIS or PMIS (coarsening 10 or 8) and combine it with a distance-two interpolation (interpolation 6 or 7), that is also truncated to 4 or 5 elements per row. Additional reduction in complexity and increased scalability can often be achieved using one or two levels of aggressive coarsening.

Parameter Options

Various BoomerAMG functions and options are mentioned below. However, for a complete listing and description of all available functions, see the reference manual.

BoomerAMG’s Create function differs from the synopsis in that it has only one parameter HYPRE_BoomerAMGCreate(HYPRE_Solver *solver). It uses the communicator of the matrix A.

Coarsening Options

Coarsening can be set by the user using the function HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetCoarsenType. A detailed description of various coarsening techniques can be found in [HeYa2002], [Yang2005].

Various coarsening techniques are available:

  • the Cleary-Luby-Jones-Plassman (CLJP) coarsening,

  • the Falgout coarsening which is a combination of CLJP and the classical RS coarsening algorithm,

  • CGC and CGC-E coarsenings [GrMS2006a], [GrMS2006b],

  • PMIS and HMIS coarsening algorithms which lead to coarsenings with lower complexities [DeYH2004] as well as

  • aggressive coarsening, which can be applied to any of the coarsening techniques mentioned above a nd thus achieving much lower complexities and lower memory use [Stue1999].

To use aggressive coarsening the user has to set the number of levels to which he wants to apply aggressive coarsening (starting with the finest level) via HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetAggNumLevels. Since aggressive coarsening requires long range interpolation, multipass interpolation is always used on levels with aggressive coarsening, unless the user specifies another long-range interpolation suitable for aggressive coarsening.

Note that the default coarsening is HMIS [DeYH2004].

Interpolation Options

Various interpolation techniques can be set using HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetInterpType:

  • the “classical” interpolation as defined in [RuSt1987],

  • direct interpolation [Stue1999],

  • standard interpolation [Stue1999],

  • an extended “classical” interpolation, which is a long range interpolation and is recommended to be used with PMIS and HMIS coarsening for harder problems [DFNY2008],

  • multipass interpolation [Stue1999],

  • two-stage interpolation [Yang2010],

  • Jacobi interpolation [Stue1999],

  • the “classical” interpolation modified for hyperbolic PDEs.

Jacobi interpolation is only use to improve certain interpolation operators and can be used with HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetPostInterpType. Since some of the interpolation operators might generate large stencils, it is often possible and recommended to control complexity and truncate the interpolation operators using HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetTruncFactor and/or HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetPMaxElmts, or HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetJacobiTruncTheshold (for Jacobi interpolation only).

Note that the default interpolation is extended+i interpolation [DFNY2008] truncated to 4 elements per row.

Non-Galerkin Options

In order to reduce communication, there is a non-Galerkin coarse grid sparsification option available [FaSc2014]. This option can be used by itself or with existing strategies to reduce communication such as aggressive coarsening and HMIS coarsening. To use, call HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetNonGalerkTol, which gives BoomerAMG a list of level specific non-Galerkin drop tolerances. It is common to drop more aggressively on coarser levels. A common choice of drop-tolerances is \([0.0, 0.01, 0.05]\) where the value of 0.0 will skip the non-Galerkin process on the first coarse level (level 1), use a drop-tolerance of 0.01 on the second coarse level (level 2) and then use 0.05 on all subsequent coarse levels. While still experimental, this capability has significantly improved performance on a variety of problems. See the ij driver for an example usage and the reference manual for more details.

Smoother Options

A good overview of parallel smoothers and their properties can be found in [BFKY2011]. Various of the described relaxation techniques are available:

  • weighted Jacobi relaxation,

  • a hybrid Gauss-Seidel / Jacobi relaxation scheme,

  • a symmetric hybrid Gauss-Seidel / Jacobi relaxation scheme,

  • l1-Gauss-Seidel or Jacobi,

  • Chebyshev smoothers,

  • hybrid block and Schwarz smoothers [Yang2004],

  • ILU and approximate inverse smoothers.

Point relaxation schemes can be set using HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetRelaxType or, if one wants to specifically set the up cycle, down cycle or the coarsest grid, with HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetCycleRelaxType. To use the more complicated smoothers, e.g. block, Schwarz, ILU smoothers, it is necessary to use HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetSmoothType and HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetSmoothNumLevels. There are further parameter choices for the individual smoothers, which are described in the reference manual. The default relaxation type is l1-Gauss-Seidel, using a forward solve on the down cycle and a backward solve on the up-cycle, to keep symmetry. Note that if BoomerAMG is used as a preconditioner for conjugate gradient, it is necessary to use a symmetric smoother. Other symmetric options are weighted Jacobi or hybrid symmetric Gauss-Seidel.

AMG for systems of PDEs

If the users wants to solve systems of PDEs and can provide information on which variables belong to which function, BoomerAMG’s systems AMG version can also be used. Functions that enable the user to access the systems AMG version are HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetNumFunctions, HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetDofFunc and HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetNodal.

If the user can provide the near null-space vectors, such as the rigid body modes for linear elasticity problems, an interpolation is available that will incorporate these vectors with HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetInterpVectors and HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetInterpVecVariant. This can lead to improved convergence and scalability [BaKY2010].

Special AMG Cycles

The default cycle is a V(1,1)-cycle, however it is possible to change the number of sweeps of the up- and down-cycle as well as the coare grid. One can also choose a W-cycle, however for parallel processing this is not recommended, since it is not scalable.

BoomerAMG also provides an additive V(1,1)-cycle as well as a mult-additive V(1,1)-cycle and a simplified versioni [VaYa2014]. The additive variants can only be used with weighted Jacobi or l1-Jacobi smoothing.

GPU-supported Options

In general, CUDA unified memory is required for running BoomerAMG solvers on GPUs. However, hypre can also be built without --enable-unified-memory if all the selected parameters have GPU-support. The currently available GPU-supported BoomerAMG options include:

  • Coarsening: PMIS (8)

  • Interpolation: direct (3), BAMG-direct (15), extended (14), extended+i (6) and extended+e (18)

  • Aggressive coarsening

  • Second-stage interpolation with aggressive coarsening: extended (5) and extended+e (7)

  • Smoother: Jacobi (7), l1-Jacobi (18), hybrid Gauss Seidel/SRROR (3 4 6), two-stage Gauss-Seidel (11,12) [BKRHSMTY2021]

  • Relaxation order: must be 0, i.e., lexicographic order

A sample code of setting up IJ matrix \(A\) and solve \(Ax=b\) using AMG-preconditioned CG on GPUs is shown below.

cudaSetDevice(device_id); /* GPU binding */
HYPRE_Init(); /* must be the first HYPRE function call */
/* AMG in GPU memory (default) */
/* setup AMG on GPUs */
/* use hypre's SpGEMM instead of cuSPARSE */
/* use GPU RNG */
if (useHypreGpuMemPool)
   /* use hypre's GPU memory pool */
   HYPRE_SetGPUMemoryPoolSize(bin_growth, min_bin, max_bin, max_bytes);
else if (useUmpireGpuMemPool)
   /* or use Umpire GPU memory pool */
/* setup IJ matrix A */
HYPRE_IJMatrixCreate(comm, first_row, last_row, first_col, last_col, &ij_A);
HYPRE_IJMatrixSetObjectType(ij_A, HYPRE_PARCSR);
/* GPU pointers; efficient in large chunks */
HYPRE_IJMatrixAddToValues(ij_A, num_rows, num_cols, rows, cols, data);
HYPRE_IJMatrixGetObject(ij_A, (void **) &parcsr_A);
/* setup AMG */
HYPRE_ParCSRPCGCreate(comm, &solver);
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetRelaxType(precon, rlx_type); /* 3, 4, 6, 7, 18, 11, 12 */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetRelaxOrder(precon, FALSE); /* must be false */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetCoarsenType(precon, coarsen_type); /* 8 */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetInterpType(precon, interp_type); /* 3, 15, 6, 14, 18 */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetAggNumLevels(precon, agg_num_levels);
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetAggInterpType(precon, agg_interp_type); /* 5 or 7 */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetKeepTranspose(precon, TRUE); /* keep transpose to avoid SpMTV */
HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetRAP2(precon, FALSE); /* RAP in two multiplications
                                          (default: FALSE) */
HYPRE_ParCSRPCGSetPrecond(solver, HYPRE_BoomerAMGSolve, HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetup,
HYPRE_PCGSetup(solver, parcsr_A, b, x);
/* solve */
HYPRE_PCGSolve(solver, parcsr_A, b, x);
HYPRE_Finalize(); /* must be the last HYPRE function call */

HYPRE_Init() must be called and precede all the other HYPRE_ functions, and HYPRE_Finalize() must be called before exiting.


For best performance, it might be necessary to set certain parameters, which will affect both coarsening and interpolation. One important parameter is the strong threshold, which can be set using the function HYPRE_BoomerAMGSetStrongThreshold. The default value is 0.25, which appears to be a good choice for 2-dimensional problems and the low complexity coarsening algorithms. For 3-dimensional problems a better choice appears to be 0.5, when using the default coarsening algorithm. However, the choice of the strength threshold is problem dependent and therefore there could be better choices than the two suggested ones.