Overview of Distributed Matrix Math

This documentation page provides an overview of the Distributed Matrix Math, its main concepts, and how it can be used to perform complex mathematical operations on large-scale data. Distributed Matrix Math enables efficient manipulation of large matrices by distributing the computation across multiple nodes in a cluster, making it particularly well-suited for big data processing and machine learning tasks.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Distributed Matrix Representations
  3. Matrix Operations
  4. Example Use Cases
  5. References


Matrix computations are a fundamental part of many scientific and engineering applications, including machine learning, computer vision, and data analysis. With the increasing scale of data and complexity of algorithms, the need for efficient distributed matrix math libraries has become more crucial than ever.

Distributed Matrix Math refers to the set of techniques and algorithms that enable efficient processing of large-scale matrix operations by splitting the data and computations across multiple nodes in a distributed system.

Distributed Matrix Representations

There are several common representations used for distributing matrices across multiple nodes in a cluster:

  • Block Matrix: The matrix is partitioned into smaller blocks or submatrices, with each block assigned to a different node.
  • Row-wise Partitioning: The matrix is partitioned row-wise, where each node is responsible for a specific set of rows.
  • Column-wise Partitioning: The matrix is partitioned column-wise, where each node is responsible for a specific set of columns.
  • Cyclic Distribution: The matrix is partitioned in a cyclic manner, assigning elements in a round-robin fashion to nodes.

Each representation has its advantages and trade-offs depending on the underlying hardware and the specific matrix operation being performed.

Matrix Operations

The most common distributed matrix math operations include:

  • Matrix addition and subtraction: Element-wise operations performed across the corresponding elements of two matrices.
  • Matrix multiplication: The product of two matrices, computed by multiplying corresponding elements and summing the results.
  • Matrix inversion: The process of finding the inverse of a matrix, such that the product of the original matrix and its inverse is the identity matrix.
  • Matrix decomposition: The process of breaking down a matrix into simpler components, such as LU, QR, or Cholesky decomposition.
  • Eigenvalue and eigenvector computation: The process of finding the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a matrix, which are essential for many applications in linear algebra.

Example Use Cases

Distributed Matrix Math has numerous applications in various fields, including:

  • Machine Learning: Training large-scale models, such as deep neural networks, often requires performing matrix operations on large datasets.
  • Computer Vision: Image processing tasks, such as edge detection or feature extraction, involve matrix operations on large images.
  • Graph Analytics: Analyzing large-scale graph data often requires performing matrix operations on adjacency matrices.
  • Data Science: Manipulating large datasets for statistical analysis or visualization often requires efficient matrix computations.


  • [1] Apache Mahout: Machine Learning on Distributed Dataflow Systems. R Anil, G Capan, I Drost-Fromm, T Dunning… - The Journal of Machine Learning Research, 2020
  • [2] Apache Mahout: Beyond MapReduce (1st. ed.). Dmitriy Lyubimov and Andrew Palumbo. 2016. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC, USA.