Fast linear solver for radiative transport equation with multiple right hand sides in diffuse optical tomography

Jingfei Jia, Hyun K. Kim, Andreas H. Hielscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well known that radiative transfer equation (RTE) provides more accurate tomographic results than its diffusion approximation (DA). However, RTE-based tomographic reconstruction codes have limited applicability in practice due to their high computational cost. In this article, we propose a new efficient method for solving the RTE forward problem with multiple light sources in an all-at-once manner instead of solving it for each source separately. To this end, we introduce here a novel linear solver called block biconjugate gradient stabilized method (block BiCGStab) that makes full use of the shared information between different right hand sides to accelerate solution convergence. Two parallelized block BiCGStab methods are proposed for additional acceleration under limited threads situation. We evaluate the performance of this algorithm with numerical simulation studies involving the Delta-Eddington approximation to the scattering phase function. The results show that the single threading block RTE solver proposed here reduces computation time by a factor of 1.5-3 as compared to the traditional sequential solution method and the parallel block solver by a factor of 1.5 as compared to the traditional parallel sequential method. This block linear solver is, moreover, independent of discretization schemes and preconditioners used; thus further acceleration and higher accuracy can be expected when combined with other existing discretization schemes or preconditioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-22
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
StatePublished - 2015


  • Block BiCGStab algorithm
  • Diffuse optical tomography
  • Multi-threading acceleration
  • Multiple right hand sides
  • Radiative transfer equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy


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