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The Matrix Market

Ronald F. Boisvert, Roldan Pozo and Karin Remington, ACMD
Richard Barrett, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Jack Dongarra, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The decomposition, solution and eigenanalysis of systems of linear equation remain important fundamental problems in scientific computation for which new algorithms and software packages are continually being developed. In order to make meaningful, reproducible quantitative assessments of the value of new algorithmic developments it is helpful to have a common collection of representative problems through which methods can be compared. Of particular recent concern problems characterized by very large, sparse matrices from industrial applications. The Matrix Market seeks to promote test and evaluation of new algorithms and software in this domain by providing a Web-based focal point for the exchange of test corpora of this type.

A prototype of the Matrix Market was released in February 1996 seeded with some 300 matrices from the well-known Harwell-Boeing Collection of sparse matrices. For each matrix we provide a Web page summarizing the properties of the matrix, providing a graphical representation of its structure, and permitting downloading of the matrix data via a mouse click. A search tool allows matrices to be selected by specifying various properties (e.g., real, symmetric, positive definite), by providing minimum or maximum number of rows, columns and nonzeros, by specifying what associated materials are required (e.g. right hand sizes, solution vectors), by application domain, or by contributing institution.

The announcement of the Matrix Market met with an immediate positive response from the research community.

  1. In the first three months of operation, the Matrix Market home page was visited 1,832 times by external users, and some 850 individual matrices were downloaded by individuals.
  2. The Matrix Market was featured in the Product News column of the Spring 1996 issue of IEEE Computational Science and Engineering magazine.
  3. Roldan Pozo and Karin Remington were invited to give two presentations on the Matrix Market at a mini-symposium at the 1996 Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods held in April 1996.
  4. A paper describing the Matrix Market was accepted for presentation at the IFIP Working Group 2.5 Conference on the Quality of Numerical Software --- Assessment and Improvement. Ron Boisvert accepted an invitation to edit the conference proceedings which will be published as a by Chapman & Hall book.
  5. The developers of the Harwell-Boeing Matrix Collection at the Boeing company and the Rutherford Appleton Labs named the Matrix Market the official distributors of the Harwell-Boeing Collection. We are now coordinating with them on Release II of their collection. Part of this work involves developing new standardized file formats for the exchange of matrix data.

We have been in contact with researchers at the University of Minnesota, the University of Florida and NASA Ames who have additional matrix collections for inclusion in the Matrix Market. We also expect to be able to investigate the use of technologies such as Java to extend the collection from static matrix data to matrix generation software.

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Next: Software Test System Up: Testing and Evaluation Previous: Testing and Evaluation

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