The world of modern computing potentially offers many helpful methods and tools to scientists and engineers, but the fast pace of change in computer hardware, software, and algorithms often makes practical use of the newest computing technology difficult. The Scientific and Engineering Computation series focuses on rapid advances in computing technologies and attempts to facilitate transferring these technologies to applications in science and engineering. It will include books on theories, methods, and original applications in such areas as parallelism, large-scale simulations, time-critical computing, computer-aided design and engineering, use of computers in manufacturing, visualization of scientific date, and human-machine interface technology.

The series will help scientists and engineers to understand the current world of advanced computation and to anticipate future developments that will impact their computing environments and open up new capabilities and modes of computation.

In this volume, the portable parallel linear algebra library PLAPACK is described. This package, developed at The University of Texas at Austin, represents a major advancement towards simplification of the coding effort and the library-application interface. It currently applies to high-performance parallel dense linear algebra computation.

To minimize common indexing errors, a code written using PLAPACK reflects the linear algebra algorithm as it is naturally explained in class and in standard text books. This approach allows indexing to be hidden from the user, creates a robust code, and simplifies the library implementation. To improve the library-application interface, it is the partitioning and distribution of the vectors associated with a linear system that is specified by the user. The matrix distribution is then automatically generated according to the distribution of these vectors. It is the vector distribution that typically reflects the distribution of the physical problem being solved.

Janusz S. Kowalik