AMG for elasticity problems leaks with PETSc AMG smoothers

Dear community,

I want to solve a nonlinear problem using GMRES preconditioned with BoomerAMG. My setup experiences a strong memory leak when using a smoother, e.g. ParaSails. I am not sure whether this is related to the way I’ve set things up or if it’s an issue inside PETSc.
Consider the following hyperelasticity MWE (run with latest dolfinx release) of a clamped block elongated by a Neumann traction:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import sys
import numpy as np
from mpi4py import MPI
from petsc4py import PETSc
from dolfinx import fem, mesh
import dolfinx.fem.petsc
import ufl


msh = mesh.create_box(comm, [np.array([0.0, 0.0, 0.0]),np.array([2.0, 1.0, 1.0])], [5, 5, 5],

dx_ = ufl.Measure("dx", domain=msh)

# function space for displacement
V_u = fem.functionspace(msh, ("Lagrange", 1, (msh.geometry.dim,)))

# collect dofs and meshtags
dofs_left = fem.locate_dofs_geometrical(V_u, lambda x: np.isclose(x[0], 0.))

# select boundaries (right, bottom, top)
boundaries = [(1, lambda x: np.isclose(x[0], 2.)), (2, lambda x: np.isclose(x[1], 0.)), (3, lambda x: np.isclose(x[1], 1.))]
facet_indices, facet_markers = [], []
fdim = msh.topology.dim - 1
for (marker, locator) in boundaries:
    facets =  mesh.locate_entities(msh, fdim, locator)
    facet_markers.append(np.full_like(facets, marker))
facet_indices = np.hstack(facet_indices).astype(np.int32)
facet_markers = np.hstack(facet_markers).astype(np.int32)
sorted_facets = np.argsort(facet_indices)
facet_tag = mesh.meshtags(msh, fdim, facet_indices[sorted_facets], facet_markers[sorted_facets])

ds_ = ufl.Measure("ds", domain=msh, subdomain_data=facet_tag)

# reference normal on mesh facets
n0 = ufl.FacetNormal(msh)

# define functions
du    = ufl.TrialFunction(V_u)            # Incremental displacement
var_u = ufl.TestFunction(V_u)             # Test function
u     = fem.Function(V_u, name='Displacement')
# disp increment for Newton
del_u = fem.Function(V_u)

# load
p = fem.Constant(msh, 0.0)

# Boundary conditions
zero = fem.Function(V_u)
dbcs = [ fem.dirichletbc(zero, dofs_left) ]

F = ufl.variable(ufl.Identity(len(u)) + ufl.grad(u)) # deformation gradient
C = F.T*F                                            # right Cauchy-Green tensor

mu, nu = 10., 0.3 # shear modulus and Poisson's ratio
beta = nu/(1.-2.*nu)
Psi = (mu/2.) * ( - msh.geometry.dim) + mu/(2.*beta)*(ufl.det(F)**(-2.*beta) - 1.) # strain energy density (compressible Neo-Hooke)

P = ufl.diff(Psi,F) # 1st Piola-Kirchhoff stress

# internal virtual work, plus Robin terms
n_o_n = ufl.outer(n0,n0)
dW_int = ufl.inner(P,ufl.grad(var_u))*dx_ + k**u, var_u)*ds_(2) + k**u, var_u)*ds_(3)

# external virtual work
dW_ext = p*ufl.det(F)*,n0), var_u)*ds_(1)

# nonlinear variational form: internal minus external virtual work
varform = dW_int - dW_ext

# Jacobian of nonlinear variational form
jac = ufl.derivative(varform, u, du)

r_form, jac_form = fem.form(varform), fem.form(jac)
r = fem.petsc.create_vector(r_form)
K = fem.petsc.create_matrix(jac_form)
# create solver
ksp = PETSc.KSP().create(comm)

opt_dict = {'pc_hypre_boomeramg_strong_threshold':0.7,
            'pc_hypre_boomeramg_smooth_type':'parasails'} # Schwarz-smoothers, parasails, pilut, euclid 
opts = PETSc.Options()
for o in opt_dict:
    opts.setValue(o, opt_dict[o])

T       = 1.0
nstep   = 10000
dt      = T/nstep

# load/time stepping
interval = np.linspace(0, T, nstep+1)

dp = 0.01
for (N, dt) in enumerate(np.diff(interval)):
    t = interval[N+1]

    p.value += dp

    # Newton loop
    tolres = 1.0e-8
    tolinc = 1.0e-0
    it = 0
    maxiter = 25

    # print header
    if comm.rank == 0:
        print("iter  res 2-norm      incr 2-norm")

    # assemble initial rhs vector
    with r.localForm() as r_local: r_local.set(0.0)
    fem.petsc.assemble_vector(r, r_form)
    fem.petsc.apply_lifting(r, [jac_form], [dbcs], x0=[u.vector], scale=-1.0)
    r.ghostUpdate(addv=PETSc.InsertMode.ADD, mode=PETSc.ScatterMode.REVERSE)
    fem.petsc.set_bc(r, dbcs, x0=u.vector, scale=-1.0)
    # get initial residual norm
    struct_res_norm = r.norm()

    if comm.rank == 0:
        print("%i     %.4e         " % (it, struct_res_norm))
    it += 1

    while it < maxiter:

        # assemble system matrix
        fem.petsc.assemble_matrix(K, jac_form, dbcs)

        # solve linear system
        ksp.solve(-r, del_u.vector)
        # get increment norm
        struct_inc_norm = del_u.vector.norm()
        # update solution
        u.vector.axpy(1.0, del_u.vector)
        u.vector.ghostUpdate(addv=PETSc.InsertMode.INSERT, mode=PETSc.ScatterMode.FORWARD)

        # assemble updated rhs vector
        with r.localForm() as r_local: r_local.set(0.0)
        fem.petsc.assemble_vector(r, r_form)
        fem.petsc.apply_lifting(r, [jac_form], [dbcs], x0=[u.vector], scale=-1.0)
        r.ghostUpdate(addv=PETSc.InsertMode.ADD, mode=PETSc.ScatterMode.REVERSE)
        fem.petsc.set_bc(r, dbcs, x0=u.vector, scale=-1.0)
        # get residual norm
        struct_res_norm = r.norm()
        if comm.rank == 0:
            print("%i     %.4e      %.4e" % (it, struct_res_norm, struct_inc_norm))
        # increase iteration index
        it += 1

        # check if converged
        if struct_res_norm <= tolres and struct_inc_norm <= tolinc:

Apologies for the length of the MWE, but I needed to run through the nonlinear solver loop to have the leak be obvious.

Removing l. 93 (ksp.getPC().setFromOptions()) seems to cure the problem: It runs and does not allocate unneeded memory. Setting the options, however, let’s it either fail due to a leak in step 2, or accumulates memory in case pc_hypre_boomeramg_strong_threshold is set to the default (0.25).

Has anyone worked with these PETSc smoothers, e.g. are there additional settings to take care of? Or would it be something rather to be reported in a PETSc forum, e.g. non-FEniCS related?

P.S. Setting a nullspace to the matrix like reported here, dolfinx/python/demo/ at main · FEniCS/dolfinx · GitHub, does not change the issue.

I’d appreciate any help.


Hi Marc,

I’m sorry I can’t help on the memory leakage issue, I don’t have any experience with that. But it sounds like it could be worth giving the PETSc forum a shot.

Additionally, without knowing whether setting the near-nullspace would resolve your issue, I just wanted to point out (if you weren’t already aware) that hypre ignores the near-nullspace you provide it with, unless you also set some other options. See PCHYPRE — PETSc 3.20.5 documentation for more information on this.


Dear Halvor,

Thanks for your reply. After some research, it indeed seems that Hypre does not actively support Parasails or other more complex smoothers anymore, cf. ParaSails — hypre 2.31.0 documentation.
Recommended options would be to use for instance ILU smoothers, cf. ILU — hypre 2.31.0 documentation, however I am not sure how these can be set through petsc4py.
The only options for pc_hypre_boomeramg_smooth_type to set seem to be
schwarz-smoothers, pilut, parasails, euclid.
So if anyone has experience using the Hypre in-built ILU smoothers for AMG through petsc4py, any help is highly appreciated.


I wanna give an update on this: When setting a value for -pc_hypre_boomeramg_smooth_num_levels, hence the first n levels where smoothing should be applied, to a value significantly lower than the max AMG levels, the leak seems to be gone. Since both -pc_hypre_boomeramg_max_levels and -pc_hypre_boomeramg_smooth_num_levels default to 25, the issue appears by default.