Efficient matrix-free high-order finite element evaluation for simplicial elements

David Moxey, Roman Amici, Mike Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


With the gap between processor clock speeds and memory bandwidth speeds continuing to increase, the use of arithmetically intense schemes, such as high-order finite element methods, continues to be of considerable interest. In particular, the use of matrix-free formulations of finite element operators for tensor-product elements of quadrilaterals in two dimensions and hexahedra in three dimensions, in combination with single-instruction multiple-data instruction sets, is a well-studied topic at present for the efficient implicit solution of elliptic equations. However, a considerable limiting factor for this approach is the use of meshes comprising of only quadrilaterals or hexahedra, the creation of which is still an open problem within the mesh generation community. In this article, we study the efficiency of high-order finite element operators for the Helmholtz equation with a focus on extending this approach to unstructured meshes of triangles, tetrahedra, and prismatic elements using the spectral/hp element method and corresponding tensor-product bases for these element types. We show that although performance is naturally degraded when going from hexahedra to these simplicial elements, efficient implementations can still be obtained that are capable of attaining 50% through 70% floating point operations of the peak of processors with both AVX2 and AVX512 instruction sets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C97-C123
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • High-order finite elements
  • High-performance computing
  • SIMD vectorization
  • Spectral/hp element method


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficient matrix-free high-order finite element evaluation for simplicial elements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this