'Short-Dot': Computing Large Linear Transforms Distributedly Using Coded Short Dot Products

Sanghamitra Dutta, Viveck Cadambe, Pulkit Grover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of computing a matrix-vector product Ax using a set of P parallel or distributed processing nodes prone to 'straggling,' i.e., unpredictable delays. Every processing node can access only a fraction ({s}/{N}) of the N -length vector x , and all processing nodes compute an equal number of dot products. We propose a novel error correcting code-that we call 'Short-Dot'-that introduces redundant, shorter dot products such that only a subset of the nodes' outputs are sufficient to compute Ax. To address the problem of straggling in computing matrix-vector products, prior work uses replication or erasure coding to encode parts of the matrix A , but the length of the dot products computed at each processing node is still N. The key novelty in our work is that instead of computing the long dot products as required in the original matrix-vector product, we construct a larger number of redundant and short dot products that only require a fraction of x to be accessed during the computation. Short-Dot is thus useful in a communication-constrained scenario as it allows for only a fraction of x to be accessed by each processing node. Further, we show that in the particular regime where the number of available processing nodes is greater than the total number of dot products, Short-Dot has lower expected computation time under straggling under an exponential model compared to existing strategies, e.g. replication, in a scaling sense. We also derive fundamental limits on the trade-off between the length of the dot products and the recovery threshold, i.e., the required number of processing nodes, showing that Short-Dot is near-optimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8758338
Pages (from-to)6171-6193
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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