KaHyPar is a fast, high-quality, and scalable algorithm for partitioning graphs and hypergraphs with billions of edges. It finds applications in minimizing communication costs for distributed (hyper)graph computations, quantum circuit simulations, storage sharding in databases, and VLSI design.


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What KaHyPar can do for you

The Karlsruhe Graph and Hypergraph Partitioning Suite

Hypergraphs are a generalization of graphs, where each (hyper)edge (also called net) can connect more than two nodes. The k-way hypergraph partitioning problem is the generalization of the well-known graph partitioning problem: partition the node set into k disjoint blocks of bounded size (at most 1 + ε times the average block size), while minimizing an objective function defined on the nets. Hypergraph partitioning finds application in minimizing communication costs and balancing the computational work in distributed scientific simulations (e.g., for parallel sparse matrix-vector multiplication), simulations of distributed quantum circuits, storage sharding in distributed databases, or as a placement strategy in VLSI design.

The Karlsruhe Hypergraph Partitioning Suite (KaHyPar) is a fast, high-quality, and scalable algorithm for partitioning graphs and hypergraphs. It consists of the sequential solver KaHyPar and the shared-memory partitioner Mt-KaHyPar. Mt-KaHyPar can be seen as a feature complete parallelization of KaHyPar. (Mt-)KaHyPar runs on Linux, Windows, and MacOS (only KaHyPar), and besides its standalone application, it provides a C, Python, Julia (only KaHyPar), and Java interface (only KaHyPar).

The highest-quality configuration of Mt-KaHyPar computes partitions that are on par with those produced by the best sequential partitioning algorithms, while being almost an order of magnitude faster with only ten threads (e.g., when compared to KaFFPa or KaHyPar). Besides our high quality configuration, we provide several other faster configurations that are already able to outperform most of the existing partitioning algorithms with regard to solution quality and running time.

The figure below summarizes the time-quality trade-off of different hypergraph (left, connectivity metric) and graph partitioning algorithms (right, cut-net metric). The plot is based on an experiment with over 800 graphs and hypergraphs and relates the average solution quality and running time of each algorithm to the best achievable results. Points on the lower-left are considered better. Partially transparent markers indicate solvers producing more than 15% infeasible partitions (either imbalanced or timeout). For more details, we refer the reader to our publications.



Besides its fast and high-quality partitioning algorithm, (Mt-)KaHyPar provides many other useful features:

  • Scalability: Mt-KaHyPar has excellent scaling behavior (up to 25 with 64 threads), while increasing the number of threads does not adversely affect the solution quality.
  • Deterministic Partitioning: Mt-KaHyPar offers a deterministic partitioning algorithm, ensuring consistent solutions for the same input and random seed.
  • Large K Partitioning: We provide a partitioning configuration for partitioning (hyper)graphs into a large number of blocks (e.g., k > 1024).
  • Graph Partitioning: Mt-KaHyPar includes optimized data structures for graph partitioning, achieving a speedup by a factor of two for plain graphs.
  • Objective Functions: Mt-KaHyPar can optimize the cut-net, connectivity, and sum-of-external-degree metric (for more details, see Supported Objective Functions)
  • Mapping (Hyper)Graphs Onto Graphs: In many applications of (hyper)graph partitioning, the blocks of a partition need to be assigned to architectures that can be represented as graphs. For instance, in parallel computations, the blocks may be assigned to processors on a computing cluster interconnected via communication links. It becomes advantageous to position nodes close to each other on the target graph if they are adjacent in the original (hyper)graph. However, conventional objective functions do not consider the topology of the target graph during partitioning. We therefore provide a mode that maps the nodes of a (hyper)graph onto the nodes of a target graph. During this process, the partitioning algorithm optimizes the Steiner tree metric. The objective here is to minimize the total weight of all minimal Steiner trees induced by the (hyper)edges of the hypergraph on the target graph. For more information about this metric, we refer the reader to the Supported Objective Functions section.
  • Fixed Vertices: Fixed vertices are nodes that are preassigned to a particular block and are not allowed to change their block during partitioning.

Supported Objective Functions

Mt-KaHyPar can optimize several objective functions which we explain in the following in more detail. An objective function takes a partition Π = {V_1, ..., V_k} into k blocks of a weighted hypergraph H = (V,E,c,ω) with node weights c: V -> R and net weights ω: E -> R as input. The number of blocks spanned by a net e is denoted with λ(e) and the set of all cut nets with E_Cut(Π) (λ(e) > 1).

Cut-Net Metric


The cut-net metric is defined as total weight of all nets spanning more than one block of the partition Π (also called cut nets).

Connectivity Metric


The connectivity metric additionally multiplies the weight of each cut net with the number of blocks λ(e) spanned by that net minus one. Thus, the connectivity metric tries to minimize the number of blocks connected by each net.

Sum-of-External-Degree Metric


The sum-of-external-degree metric is similar to the connectivity metric, but does not subtract one from the number of blocks λ(e) spanned by a net. A peculiarity of this objective function is that removing a net from the cut reduces the metric by 2ω(e), while reducing the connectivity by one reduces the metric only by ω(e). Thus, the objective function prefers removing nets from the cut, while as secondary criteria it tries to reduce the connectivity of the nets.

Steiner Tree Metric


The Steiner tree metric is the most versatile metric that we provide at the moment. A Steiner tree is a tree with minimal weight that connects a subset of the nodes on a graph (a more detailed definition can be found here). For a subset with exactly two nodes, finding a Steiner tree reverts to computing the shortest path between the two nodes. When optimizing the Steiner tree metric, we map the node set of a hypergraph H onto the nodes of a target graph G. The objective is to minimize the total weight of all Steiner trees induced by the nets of H on G.
For a net e, dist(Λ(e)) is the weight of the minimal Steiner tree connecting the blocks Λ(e) spanned by net e on G. The Steiner tree metric can be used to accurately model wire-lengths in VLSI design or communication costs in distributed systems when some processors do not communicate with each other directly or with different speeds.

Custom Objective Functions

We have implemented a common interface for all gain computation techniques that we use in our refinement algorithms. This enables us to extend Mt-KaHyPar with new objective functions without having to modify the internal implementation of the refinement algorithms. A step-by-step guide how you can implement your own objective function can be found here.

Participating organisations

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)



Lars Gottesbüren
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Tobias Heuer
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Nikolai Maas
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Peter Sanders
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Christian Schulz