FFTW: An Adaptive Software Architecture for the FFT

by Matteo Frigo and Steven G. Johnson.

In the Proceedings of the 1998 ICASSP conference (vol. 3, pp. 1381-1384)
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FFT literature has been mostly concerned with minimizing the number of floating-point operations performed by an algorithm. Unfortunately, on present-day microprocessors this measure is far less important than it used to be, and interactions with the processor pipeline and the memory hierarchy have a larger impact on performance. Consequently, one must know the details of a computer architecture in order to design a fast algorithm. In this paper, we propose an adaptive FFT program that tunes the computation automatically for any particular hardware. We compared our program, called FFTW, with over 40 implementations of the FFT on 7 machines. Our tests show that FFTW's self-optimizing approach usually yields significantly better performance than all other publicly available software. FFTW also compares favorably with machine-specific, vendor-optimized libraries.

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