Debugging with CULA Sparse

by Dan

CULA Sparse offers a unique debugging feature. When enabled, this feature allows you to perform extra checks on your matrix. Our recommended use case is to use debugging mode when getting started running the library or if you run into a problem. Once you have fixed any any issues you might encounter (if you encounter none, good for you!), you can switch off debugging mode to make sure you are running at full performance.

Currently, one of the most important things that debugging mode enables is a check to ensure that your matrix is well-formed. In a previous post, I discussed sparse matrix formats. CULA Sparse, being flexible, provides an indexing parameter for you to specify whether your data is one- or zero-based. It is a very common error, however, that users do not specify their index or matrix data correctly when they use the library. Debugging mode helps here because it can identify when there is a mismatch between the actual matrix data and the specified indexing.

In future revisions of CULA Sparse, there is an opportunity to introduce even more options, such as introducing a check that helps to steer you towards a good solver. For example, BiCG is intended only for symmetric matrices; if you use a non-symmetric matrix with it, you are likely to get poor performance. In a future release, we may check for this case and report to you if you are using a solver incorrectly.

We think that providing developer-oriented features and ease-of-use features are just as important as performance, although of course we provide that in spades. If you haven’t tried CULA Sparse yet, try out the demo and see how our combination or performance and ease-of-use work for you!

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