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Scientific Compression Library (SCIL) Build Status Codecov Status

With the Scientific Compression Library (SCIL), we are developing a meta-compressor that allows users to set various quantities that define the acceptable error and the expected performance behavior. The library then aims to choose the appropriate chain of algorithms to yield the users requirements (this feature is still under development). This approach is a crucial step towards a scientifically safe use of much-needed lossy data compression, because it disentangles the tasks of determining scientific ground characteristics of tolerable noise, from the task of determining an optimal compression strategy given target noise levels and constraints. Future algorithms are used without change in the application code, once they are integrated into SCIL. SCIL also comes with a pattern library to generate various relevant synthetic test patterns. Further tools are provided to plot, add noise or to compress CSV and NetCDF3 files. Internally, support functions simplify the development of new algorithms and the testing.

SCIL is available on GitHub.


Detailed information how to install required software packages are provided in the directory:

  • test/docker//Dockerfile The commands provided after the RUN instruction are those necessary to install prerequisites.

Once these are installed use, e.g., ./configure --prefix=$PWD/install Note that SCIL requires to be built out of tree, meaning one may not use "cmake ./" but instead call cmake from an empty directory.

When running configure, the system will automatically install additional requirements.


  • To adjust the CMAKE based environment to your system run

      ./configure [Options]
  • Build the core library

      cd build
      make -j 4
  • Install the core library

      cd build
      make install
  • Build the HDF5 wrapper

      cd tools/hdf5-plugin/
      ./configure [Options]
      make install
  • You have to copy the HDF5 wrapper to the plugin install directory of HDF5!

    To build a complete development environment including the prerequisites, see

Directory structure

  • dev: contains tools for development
  • deps: contains tools to automatically setup dependencies
  • doc: contains some documentations (more when you run make)
  • src: the source code of the core libraries provided, see below for details
  • test-docker: contains scripts to setup a docker test environment for various distributions
  • tools: additional tools using SCIL

./src -- the source directory

The source directory is split into several components:

  • compression: the compression library
    • algo: all compression algorithms
      • util: utilities for the individual algorithms
  • core: core datatypes and functions that are accessible by users
  • pattern: library for several synthetic patterns
  • test: system-integration test code
  • tools: command line tools
    • util: utility functions for command line tools
      • file-formats: file formats library for tools
  • util: supportive functions that may be used by any other library and function but usually NOT by end-users. Util shall not have any dependency to any external component except to core.


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