Parallel Sparse BLAS


Parallel Sparse BLAS


Great addition to any scientific project

Comes with a range of interfaces

Tested on tens of thousands of cores


The PSBLAS library, developed with the aim to facilitate the parallelization of computationally intensive scientific applications, is designed to address parallel implementation of iterative solvers for sparse linear systems through the distributed memory paradigm. It includes routines for multiplying sparse matrices by dense matrices, solving block diagonal systems with triangular diagonal entries, preprocessing sparse matrices, and contains additional routines for dense matrix operations. The current implementation of PSBLAS addresses a distributed memory execution model operating with message passing.

The PSBLAS library version 3 is implemented in the Fortran 2003 programming language, with reuse and/or adaptation of existing Fortran 77 and Fortran 95 software, plus a handful of C routines.


The test/util directory contains some utilities to convert to/from Harwell-Boeing and MatrixMarket file formats.


See docs/psblas-3.7.pdf; an HTML version of the same document is available in docs/html, and on this website.

Please consult the sample programs, especially test/pargen/psb_[sd]_pde[23]d.f90


We originally included a modified implementation of some of the Sparker (serial sparse BLAS) material; this has been completely rewritten, way beyond the intention(s) and responsibilities of the original developers. The main reference for the serial sparse BLAS is:

Duff, I., Marrone, M., Radicati, G., and Vittoli, C. Level 3 basic linear algebra subprograms for sparse matrices: a user level interface, ACM Trans. Math. Softw., 23(3), 379-401, 1997.


Library releases for PSBLAS.

Release Date Sources Documentation
Version May 11, 2021 ZIP Archive PDF HTML
Version 3.7.0-1 April 13, 2021 ZIP Archive PDF HTML
Version 3.7.0 April 12, 2021 ZIP Archive PDF HTML

Library releases can be downloaded from: psblas3/releases


To compile and run our software you will need the following prerequisites (see also SERIAL below):

  1. A working version of MPI

  2. A version of the BLAS; if you don’t have a specific version for your platform you may try ATLAS available from

  3. We have had good results with the METIS library, from This is optional; it is used in the util and test/fileread directories but only if you specify --with-metis.

  4. If you have the AMD package of Davis, Duff and Amestoy, you can specify --with-amd (see ./configure --help for more details).

The configure script will generate a file suitable for building the library. The script is capable of recognizing the needed libraries with their default names; if they are in unusual places consider adding the paths with --with-libs, or explicitly specifying the names in --with-blas, etc. Please note that a common way for the configure script to fail is to specify inconsistent MPI vs. plain compilers, either directly or indirectly via environment variables; e.g. specifying the Intel compiler with FC=ifort while at the same time having an MPIFC=mpif90 which points to GNU Fortran. The best way to avoid this situation is (in our opinion) to use the environment modules package (see, and load the relevant variables with (e.g.)

module load gnu46 openmpi

This will delegate to the modules setup to make sure that the version of openmpi in use is the one compiled with the gnu46 compilers. After the configure script has completed you can always tweak the file yourself.

After you have fixed, run


to compile the library; go to the test directory and its subdirectories to get test programs done. If you specify --prefix=/path you can do make install and the libraries will be installed under /path/lib, while the module files will be installed under /path/modules. The regular and experimental C interface header files are under /path/include.


The PSBLAS library is also distributed as a package for the following Linux distributions.

Distro PSBLAS Version Reference Maintainer To install
Fedora 3.6.1 psblas3 sagitter dnf install psblas3-serial
dnf install psblas3-openmpi
dnf install psblas3-mpich
dnf install psblas3-debugsource
dnf install psblas3-debuginfo
Note: For the mpich and openmpi versions also the -debuginfo and -devel are available.


Configuring with --enable-serial will provide a fake MPI stub library that enables running in pure serial mode; no MPI installation is needed in this case (but note that the fake MPI stubs are only guaranteed to cover what we use internally, it’s not a complete replacement).


From version 3.7.0 of PSBLAS, we handle 8-bytes integer data for the global indices of distributed matrices, allowing an index space larger than 2G. The default setting in the configure uses 4 bytes for local indices, and 8 bytes for global indices. This can be tuned using the following configure flags.

Configure flag  
--with-ipk=<bytes> Specify the size in bytes for local indices and data, default 4 bytes.
--with-lpk=<bytes> Specify the size in bytes for global indices and data, default 8 bytes.

Note: If you wish to compile PSBLAS with the Metis interfaces then you need to configure and compile it in a consistent way with the choice made for --with-lpk. This can be achieved by setting the defines in the metis.h library, e.g, to use 8 bytes integers and 4 bytes floats



Fix all reamining bugs. Bugs? We dont’ have any ! ;-)

The PSBLAS team.

Project lead: Salvatore Filippone

Contributors (roughly reverse cronological order):

  • Fabio Durastante
  • Soren Rasmussen
  • Zaak Beekman
  • Ambra Abdullahi Hassan
  • Pasqua D’Ambra
  • Alfredo Buttari
  • Daniela di Serafino
  • Michele Martone
  • Michele Colajanni
  • Fabio Cerioni
  • Stefano Maiolatesi
  • Dario Pascucci