Distributed Matrix Computations With Low-Weight Encodings

Anindya Bijoy Das, Aditya Ramamoorthy, David J. Love, Christopher G. Brinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Straggler nodes are well-known bottlenecks of distributed matrix computations which induce reductions in computation/communication speeds. A common strategy for mitigating such stragglers is to incorporate Reed-Solomon based MDS (maximum distance separable) codes into the framework; this can achieve resilience against an optimal number of stragglers. However, these codes assign dense linear combinations of submatrices to the worker nodes. When the input matrices are sparse, these approaches increase the number of non-zero entries in the encoded matrices, which in turn adversely affects the worker computation time. In this work, we develop a distributed matrix computation approach where the assigned encoded submatrices are random linear combinations of a small number of submatrices. In addition to being well suited for sparse input matrices, our approach continues to have the optimal straggler resilience in a certain range of problem parameters. Moreover, compared to recent sparse matrix computation approaches, the search for a 'good' set of random coefficients to promote numerical stability in our method is much more computationally efficient. We show that our approach can efficiently utilize partial computations done by slower worker nodes in a heterogeneous system which can enhance the overall computation speed. Numerical experiments conducted through Amazon Web Services (AWS) demonstrate up to 30% reduction in per worker node computation time and 100× faster encoding compared to the available methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-378
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Information Theory
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Media Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Distributed computing
  • MDS codes
  • condition number
  • sparsity
  • stragglers


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