Compiling SPARTA

As SPARTA is written in pure C, it should build on any Linux-like system. However, before building the system, a number of compiler flags need to be set as described below.


SPARTA was designed to have as few dependencies as possible, but the following libraries are inevitable:

  • MPI

  • gsl 2.0 (earlier versions are missing 2D interpolation functions)

  • HDF5 1.8 (version 1.6.x will not compile due to interface differences; 1.10 is preferred as it contains numerous bug fixes)

Please make sure these libraries are installed and in the include/library paths so the compiler can find them.

Compiling SPARTA

The idea of SPARTA’s compile system is that there is a central header file, sparta.h, that contains all user-defined compile-time input. To avoid changing this file for each build (and accidentally adding these changes to the repository), the user should create one (or many) build directories in a location of their choice. Then, follow these steps:

  • create a new build directory

  • copy build/sparta.h and build/Makefile to the build directory

  • also copy build/moria.h and build/tests.h if you want to compile MORIA and the test suite

  • set the SPARTA_DIR variable in Makefile to the relative or absolute path where the SPARTA code is located

  • set PLATFORM to one of the platforms listed in the build/main.make file, and/or set any machine-specific settings (such as CFLAGS or LD_FLAGS) in Makefile

At this point, Makefile could look like this:

SPARTA_DIR := /my/home/dir/code/sparta
include $(SPARTA_DIR)/build/main.make

Now simply execute make in your build directory. If you also want to compile MORIA and the test suite, use make all instead.

Troubleshooting: GSL

If GSL is not found, make sure that the directory where the gsl include files are is included in your path via the CFLAGS. When compiling, you should see it explicitly listed, e.g.:

mpicc -I/home/you/build -Wall -O2 -I/home/you/gsl/include -c /home/you/sparta/src/geometry.c -o /home/you/sparta/src/geometry.o

or something similar. The same goes for the library path, where the lib directory needs to be added. For a typical GSL installation, the include and lib directories should be in the same top directory. In some cases, the compilation works but when trying to run SPARTA you get:

error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

This means that the code was compiled with a dynamic link to GSL, and that the operating system can now not find the GSL library. You probably need to add it to your library path in the command line (ideally at login, e.g. in .bashrc:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/path/to/gsl/lib

Troubleshooting: hdf5

The hdf5 library can cause various errors on various systems. Besides adding the paths as described for GSL above, one error can be that the linker cannot find the zlib library, which can be fixed with:

LD_FLAGS += -lz

Troubleshooting: Linker errors

Sometimes, after compile options are changed in the header files such as sparta.h, the linker throws errors that look like missing include statements. In such cases, try executing make clean and recompiling; the make tool sometimes does not take all the necessary dependencies into account.

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