Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Director

Yaochang Li (Director)

Committee Member

Stephan Olariu

Committee Member

Nikos Chrisochoides

Committee Member

Masha Sosonkina

Committee Member

Seth H. Weinberg


Linear algebra operations play an important role in scientific computing and data analysis. With increasing data volume and complexity in the "Big Data" era, linear algebra operations are important tools to process massive datasets. On one hand, the advent of modern high-performance computing architectures with increasing computing power has greatly enhanced our capability to deal with a large volume of data. One the other hand, many classical, deterministic numerical linear algebra algorithms have difficulty to scale to handle large data sets.

Monte Carlo methods, which are based on statistical sampling, exhibit many attractive properties in dealing with large volume of datasets, including fast approximated results, memory efficiency, reduced data accesses, natural parallelism, and inherent fault tolerance. In this dissertation, we present new Monte Carlo methods to accommodate a set of fundamental and ubiquitous large-scale linear algebra operations, including solving large-scale linear systems, constructing low-rank matrix approximation, and approximating the extreme eigenvalues/ eigenvectors, across modern distributed and parallel computing architectures. First of all, we revisit the classical Ulam-von Neumann Monte Carlo algorithm and derive the necessary and sufficient condition for its convergence. To support a broad family of linear systems, we develop Krylov subspace Monte Carlo solvers that go beyond the use of Neumann series. New algorithms used in the Krylov subspace Monte Carlo solvers include (1) a Breakdown-Free Block Conjugate Gradient algorithm to address the potential rank deficiency problem occurred in block Krylov subspace methods; (2) a Block Conjugate Gradient for Least Squares algorithm to stably approximate the least squares solutions of general linear systems; (3) a BCGLS algorithm with deflation to gain convergence acceleration; and (4) a Monte Carlo Generalized Minimal Residual algorithm based on sampling matrix-vector products to provide fast approximation of solutions. Secondly, we design a rank-revealing randomized Singular Value Decomposition (R3SVD) algorithm for adaptively constructing low-rank matrix approximations to satisfy application-specific accuracy. Thirdly, we study the block power method on Markov Chain Monte Carlo transition matrices and find that the convergence is actually depending on the number of independent vectors in the block. Correspondingly, we develop a sliding window power method to find stationary distribution, which has demonstrated success in modeling stochastic luminal Calcium release site. Fourthly, we take advantage of hybrid CPU-GPU computing platforms to accelerate the performance of the Breakdown-Free Block Conjugate Gradient algorithm and the randomized Singular Value Decomposition algorithm. Finally, we design a Gaussian variant of Freivalds’ algorithm to efficiently verify the correctness of matrix-matrix multiplication while avoiding undetectable fault patterns encountered in deterministic algorithms.