Efficient Hessian assembling within an interior point method

Hi all!

I am currently considering an assembling problem. Given is a dense matrix A and a sparse matrix B and the goal is to efficiently compute the matrix H = B^\top (A \otimes A) B. If one expresses the matrix B as B = (\mathrm{vec}(B_1), \dots, \mathrm{vec}(B_n)) with square matrices B_j and where \mathrm{vec}(\cdot) denotes the vectorization of a matrix, then one finds that the (i,j) th entry of H is given by \mathrm{trace}(AB_j A B_i). Matrices of this (and similar) structure appear in interior point methods for solving linear semi-definite programs.

I have the following Matlab code with which I am quite happy as it is reasonably fast and clean:

n = 30;
A = ones(n, n);
B = sprand(n^2, n^2/2, 0.1);

AssemblePartHess(A, B);

function C = AssembleHessian(A, B)
    % Number of rows of the matrix A
    nA = size(A, 1);

    % Build the matrix [A*B1, ..., A*Bn] which is dense in general.
    C = reshape(B, nA, []);
    C = A * C; 
    % Generate a 3D array in which C(:, :, j) = A*Bj.
    C = reshape(C, nA, nA, []);
    % Multiply each of these slices by A from the right.
    C = pagemtimes(C, A);
    % This reshape results in the matrix [vec(A*B1*A), ..., vec(A*B2*A)]
    C = reshape(C, nA^2, []);

    % Last multiplication results in desired matrix and is not too
    % expensive as B is sparse.
    C = B' * C;

I tried to achieve the same or better in Julia, but so far this didn’t work out as I am not that familiar with it. Here is what I currently have:

using LinearAlgebra
using SparseArrays
using BenchmarkTools

n = 30;
A = ones(n, n);
B = sprand(n^2, Int(n^2/2), 0.1);

function fun(A::Matrix{Float64}, B::SparseMatrixCSC{Float64, Int64})
    nA = size(A, 1)
    C = SparseMatrixCSC(reshape(B, nA, :))
    C = A * C
    for  i in axes(B, 2)
        C[:,1+ (i-1)*nA: i*nA] = view(C, :, 1+ (i-1)*nA: i*nA)* A
    C = reshape(C, nA^2, :)
    C = B' * C
    return C

@btime fun($A, $B);

For me this result in

  29.840 ms (478 allocations: 9.48 MiB)

which is, unfortunately, about 3 times slower than the Matlab function.
My output of versioninfo() is

Julia Version 1.9.1
Commit 147bdf428c (2023-06-07 08:27 UTC)
Platform Info:
  OS: Windows (x86_64-w64-mingw32)
  CPU: 8 × Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8265U CPU @ 1.60GHz
  LIBM: libopenlibm
  LLVM: libLLVM-14.0.6 (ORCJIT, skylake)
  Threads: 8 on 8 virtual cores

Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!