1.3. Using hipSOLVER

Once installed, hipSOLVER can be used just like any other library with a C API. The header file will need to be included in the user code, and the shared library will become link-time and run-time dependencies for the user application. The user code can be ported, with no changes, to any system with hipSOLVER installed regardless of the backend library.

For more details on how to use the API methods, see the code samples on hipSOLVER’s github page, or the documentation of the corresponding backend libraries.

1.3.1. Some considerations when using the regular hipSOLVER API

hipSOLVER’s regular API is similar to cuSOLVER; however, due to differences in the implementation and design between cuSOLVER and rocSOLVER, some minor adjustements were introduced to ensure the best performance out of both backends.

Different signatures and additional API methods

  • The methods to obtain the size of the workspace needed by functions gels and gesv in cuSOLVER require dwork as an argument; however, it is never used and can be null. On the rocSOLVER side, dwork is not needed to calculate the workspace size. In consequence:

    (These wrappers pass dwork = nullptr when calling cuSOLVER).

  • To calculate the workspace required by function gesvd in rocSOLVER, the values of jobu and jobv are needed. As a result,

    (These arguments are ignored when the wrapper calls cuSOLVER, as they are not needed).

  • To properly use a user-provided workspace, rocSOLVER requires both the allocated pointer and its size. Consequently:

    (lwork is ignored when the wrapper calls cuSOLVER, as it is not needed).

  • All rocSOLVER functions called by hipSOLVER require a workspace. To allow the user to specify one,

    (These arguments are ignored when these wrappers call cuSOLVER, as they are not needed).

    In order to support these changes, the regular API adds the following functions as well:

    (These methods return lwork = 0 when using the cuSOLVER backend, as the corresponding functions in cuSOLVER do not need workspace).

Unsupported methods

The following methods are provided as part of the compatibility API, but are not currently implemented in rocSOLVER and will return HIPSOLVER_STATUS_NOT_SUPPORTED if called with the rocSOLVER backend.

Arguments not referenced by rocSOLVER

  • Unlike cuSOLVER, rocSOLVER does not provide information on invalid arguments in its info arguments, though it will provide info on singularities and algorithm convergence. As a result, the info argument of many functions will not be referenced or altered by the rocSOLVER backend, excepting those that provide info on singularities or convergence.

  • The niters argument of hipsolverXXgels and hipsolverXXgesv is not referenced by the rocSOLVER backend; there is no iterative refinement currently implemented in rocSOLVER.

  • The params argument of the compatibility-only Jacobi functions (e.g. hipsolverDnXsyevj) is not referenced by the rocSOLVER backend; there are currently no Jacobi functions implemented in rocSOLVER.

Using rocSOLVER’s memory model

Most hipSOLVER functions take a workspace pointer and size as arguments, allowing the user to manage the device memory used internally by the backends. rocSOLVER, however, can maintain the device workspace automatically by default (see rocSOLVER’s memory model for more details). In order to take advantage of this feature, users may pass a null pointer for the work argument or a zero size for the lwork argument of any function when using the rocSOLVER backend, and the workspace will be automatically managed behind-the-scenes. It is recommended, however, to use a consistent strategy for workspace management, as performance issues may arise if the internal workspace is made to flip-flop between user-provided and automatically allocated workspaces.


This feature should not be used with the cuSOLVER backend; hipSOLVER does not guarantee a defined behavior when passing a null workspace to cuSOLVER functions that require one.

Using rocSOLVER’s in-place functions

The solvers gesv and gels in cuSOLVER are out-of-place in the sense that the solution vectors X do not overwrite the input matrix B. In rocSOLVER this is not the case; when hipsolverXXgels or hipsolverXXgesv call rocSOLVER, some data movements must be done internally to restore B and copy the results back to X. These copies could introduce noticeable overhead depending on the size of the matrices. To avoid this potential problem, users can pass X = B to hipsolverXXgels or hipsolverXXgesv when using the rocSOLVER backend; in this case, no data movements will be required, and the solution vectors can be retrieved using either B or X.


This feature should not be used with the cuSOLVER backend; hipSOLVER does not guarantee a defined behavior when passing X = B to the mentioned functions in cuSOLVER.

1.3.2. Porting cuSOLVER applications to hipSOLVER

hipSOLVER is also designed to make it easy for users of cuSOLVER to port their existing applications to hipSOLVER, and provides two separate but interchangeable APIs in order to facilitate a two-stage transition process. Users are encouraged to start with hipSOLVER’s compatibility API, which uses the hipsolverDn prefix and has method signatures that are fully consistent with cusolverDn functions. As explained below, however, the compatibility API may introduce some performance drawbacks, especially when using the rocSOLVER backend. So, as a second stage, it is recommended to begin the switch to hipSOLVER’s regular API, which uses the hipsolver prefix and introduces minor adjustments to the API (see section 1.3.1) in order to get the best performance out of the rocSOLVER backend. In most cases, switching to the regular API is as simple as removing Dn from the hipsolverDn prefix.

(No matter which API is used, a hipSOLVER application can be executed, without modifications to the code, in systems with cuSOLVER or rocSOLVER installed. However, using the regular API ensures the best performance out of both backends).

Possible performance implications of the compatibility API

  • To calculate the workspace required by function gesvd in rocSOLVER, the values of jobu and jobv are needed, however, the function hipsolverDnXgesvd_bufferSize does not accept these arguments. So, when using the rocSOLVER backend, hipsolverDnXgesvd_bufferSize has to calculate internally the workspace for all possible values of jobu and jobv, and return the maximum.

    (hipsolverDnXgesvd_bufferSize is slower than hipsolverXgesvd_bufferSize, and its returned workspace size could be slightly larger than what is actually needed).

  • To properly use a user-provided workspace, rocSOLVER requires both the allocated pointer and its size. However, the function hipsolverDnXgetrf does not accept lwork as an argument. In consequence, when using the rocSOLVER backend, hipsolverDnXgetrf has to call internally hipsolverDnXgetrf_bufferSize to know the size of the workspace.

    (hipsolverDnXgetrf_bufferSize will be called twice in practice, once by the user before allocating the workspace, and once by hipSOLVER internally when executing the hipsolverDnXgetrf function. hipsolverDnXgetrf could be slightly slower than hipsolverXgetrf because of the extra call to the bufferSize helper).

  • The functions hipsolverDnXgetrs, hipsolverDnXpotrs, hipsolverDnXpotrsBatched, and hipsolverDnXpotrfBatched do not accept work and lwork as arguments. However, this functionality does require a non-zero workspace in rocSOLVER. As a result, when using the rocSOLVER backend, these functions will switch to the automatic workspace management model (see here).

    (Users must keep in mind that even if the compatibility API does not have bufferSize helpers for the mentioned functions, these functions do require workspace when using rocSOLVER, and it will be automatically managed. This may imply device memory reallocations with corresponding overheads).

  • The functions hipsolverDnXgesvdj and hipsolverDnXgesvdjBatched must apply a transpose operation to V in order to match the output of cuSOLVER, requiring an additional function call and extra workspace.

    (If jobz is set to HIPSOLVER_EIG_MODE_VECTOR, hipsolverDnXgesvdj and hipsolverDnXgesvdjBatched will be slower and require more workspace than hipsolverXgesvd).