Bilkent University
Department of Computer Engineering


Parallel Computing for the Solution of World’s Largest Matrix Equations in Computational Electromagnetics


Prof.Dr. Levent Gürel
Computational Electromagnetics Research Center
EEE; Bilkent University

Since 2006, the world’s largest integral-equation problems in computational electromagnetics have been solved at Bilkent University Computational Electromagnetics Research Center (BiLCEM). Most recently, breaking the latest world record actually required the solution of 550,000,000x550,000,000 dense matrix equations! This achievement is an outcome of a multidisciplinary study involving physical understanding of electromagnetics problems, novel parallelization strategies (computer science), constructing parallel clusters (computer architecture), advanced mathematical methods for integral equations, fast solvers, iterative methods, preconditioners, and linear algebra. Solutions of extremely large dense matrix equations are required for accurate simulations of real-life electromagnetics problems. However, this cannot be achieved even by using the most powerful computers with state-of-the-art technology. Nevertheless, by using fast algorithms such as the multilevel fast multipole algorithm (MLFMA), iterative solvers, and preconditioners, we have been able to obtain full-wave solutions of electromagnetics problems discretized with hundreds of millions of unknowns. In this seminar, following a general introduction to our work in computational electromagnetics, I will continue to present fast and accurate solutions of large-scale electromagnetic modeling problems involving three-dimensional geometries with arbitrary shapes using MLFMA. Accurate solutions of real-life problems require discretizations with tens or even hundreds of millions of unknowns. To achieve the solution of such extremely large problems, maximizing the computational resources by parallelizing MLFMA on distributed memory architectures is needed. However, due to its complicated structure, parallelization of MLFMA is not trivial. Recently, we proposed a hierarchical parallelization strategy to increase the efficiency of parallelization to enable the solution of electromagnetics problems with overall sizes in the orders of hundreds or thousands of wavelengths. Solving the world's largest computational electromagnetics problems has important implications in terms of obtaining the solution of previously intractable physical, real-life, and scientific problems in various areas, such as (subsurface) scattering, optics, bioelectromagnetics, metamaterials, nanotechnology, remote sensing, etc. For more information, please visit

Bio: Levent Gürel received the B.Sc. degree from the Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey, in 1986, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (UIUC) in 1988 and 1991, respectively, all in electrical engineering. He joined the Thomas J. Watson Research Center of the International Business Machines Corporation, Yorktown Heights, New York, in 1991, as a Research Staff Member. Since 1994, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of the Bilkent University, Ankara, where he is currently a Professor. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Center for Computational Electromagnetics (CCEM) of the UIUC for one semester in 1997. He returned to the UIUC as a Visiting Professor in 2003-2005, and as an Adjunct Professor after 2005. He founded the Computational Electromagnetics Research Center (BiLCEM) at Bilkent University in 2005, where he is serving as the Director. Prof. Gürel's research interests include the development of fast algorithms for computational electromagnetics (CEM) and the application thereof to scattering and radiation problems involving large and complicated scatterers, antennas and radars, frequency-selective surfaces, high-speed electronic circuits, optical and imaging systems, nanostructures, metamaterials, electromagnetic compatibility and interference, subsurface scattering and ground penetrating radars. He published 60+ journal articles, 170+ conference papers, and edited two conference proceedings. Since 2006, his research group has been breaking several world records by solving extremely large integral-equation problems, involving hundreds of millions of unknowns. Among the recognitions of Prof. Gürel's accomplishments, the two prestigious awards from the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) in 2002 and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) in 2003 are the most notable. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Applied Computational Electromagnetic Society (ACES), a member of the USNC of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) and the Chairman of Commission E (Electromagnetic Noise and Interference) of URSI Turkey National Committee. He served as a member of the General Assembly of the European Microwave Association (EuMA) during 2006-2008. He is currently serving as an associate editor for Radio Science, IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, Journal of Electromagnetic Waves and Applications (JEMWA), and Progress in Electromagnetics Research (PIER). Prof. Gürel served as the Chairman of the AP/MTT/ED/EMC Chapter of the IEEE Turkey Section in 2000-2003. He founded the IEEE EMC Chapter in Turkey in 2000. He served as the Cochairman of the 2003 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility. He is the organizer and General Chair of the CEM’07 and CEM’09 Computational Electromagnetics International Workshops held in 2007 and 2009. Prof. Levent Gürel is an IEEE Fellow and he is elected as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society for 2011-2013. He presented more than 35 invited talks all over the world. He is invited to the 2011 ACES Conference in Virginia, USA, as a Plenary Speaker.


DATE: 14 March, 2011, Monday @ 13:40