Chebyshev-filtered subspace iteration method free of sparse diagonalization for solving the Kohn-Sham equation

Yunkai Zhou, James R. Chelikowsky, Yousef Saad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


First-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations for the electronic structure problem require a solution of the Kohn-Sham equation, which requires one to solve a nonlinear eigenvalue problem. Solving the eigenvalue problem is usually the most expensive part in DFT calculations. Sparse iterative diagonalization methods that compute explicit eigenvectors can quickly become prohibitive for large scale problems. The Chebyshev-filtered subspace iteration (CheFSI) method avoids most of the explicit computation of eigenvectors and results in a significant speedup over iterative diagonalization methods for the DFT self-consistent field (SCF) calculations. However, the original formulation of the CheFSI method utilizes a sparse iterative diagonalization at the first SCF step to provide initial vectors for subspace filtering at latter SCF steps. This diagonalization is expensive for large scale problems. We develop a new initial filtering step to avoid completely this diagonalization, thus making the CheFSI method free of sparse iterative diagonalizations at all SCF steps. Our new approach saves memory usage and can be two to three times faster than the original CheFSI method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-782
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Chebyshev filters
  • Density functional theory
  • Diagonalization
  • Electronic structure problem
  • Hamiltonian
  • Nonlinear eigenvalue problem
  • Real space pseudopotentials
  • Self-consistency
  • Subspace filtering


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