Graph partitioning is a fundamental problem in several scientific and engineering applications. In this paper, we describe heuristics that improve the state-of-the-art practical algorithms used in graph-partitioning software in terms of both partitioning speed and quality. An important use of graph partitioning is in ordering sparse matrices for obtaining direct solutions to sparse systems of linear equations arising in engineering and optimization applications. The experiments reported in this paper show that the use of these heuristics results in a considerable improvement in the quality of sparse-matrix orderings over conventional ordering methods, especially for sparse matrices arising in linear programming problems. In addition, our graph-partitioning-based ordering algorithm is more parallelizable than minimum-degree-based ordering algorithms, and it renders the ordered matrix more amenable to parallel factorization.
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