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An Open Source Implementation of the Actor Model in C++
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CAF: C++ Actor Framework

CAF is an open source C++11 actor model implementation featuring lightweight & fast actor implementations, pattern matching for messages, network transparent messaging, and more.

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On the Web


Linux Packages

We provide binary packages for several Linux distributions using the openSUSE Build Service. Please follow the linked installation guides below or alternatively visit our OBS project homepage:

package description link
caf binaries only stable nightly
caf-devel binaries and headers stable nightly

FreeBSD Ports

We maintain a port for CAF, which you can install as follows:

pkg install caf

Alternatively, you can go to /usr/ports/devel/caf and tweak a few configuration options before installing the port:

make config
make install clean


You can install the latest stable release with:

brew install caf

Alternatively, you can use the development branch by using:

brew install caf --HEAD


The official CAF channel is published under caf_bot/actor-framework and includes the following blocks:

  • libcaf_core
  • libcaf_io
  • libcaf_riac
  • libcaf_opencl (depends on OpenCL which is not distributed as part of CAF)

NOTE: You do not need to have CAF installed on your machine. Biicode will automatically do that for you during the build process. Visit this the bii guide for more information.

To use actor-framework in your project, reference the header file as: #include "caf_bot/actor-framework/libcaf_core/caf/all.hpp". Then run bii find to resolve and download the files and bii build to compile your code.

To avoid specifying the block name in your includes add the following to your bii.conf file to allow Biicode to associate all #include "caf/*.hpp" with the actor-framework block:

  caf/riac/*.hpp : caf_bot/actor-framework/libcaf_riac
  caf/opencl/*.hpp : caf_bot/actor-framework/libcaf_opencl
  caf/io/*.hpp : caf_bot/actor-framework/libcaf_io
  caf/*.hpp : caf_bot/actor-framework/libcaf_core

Get the Sources

Build CAF from Source

The easiest way to build CAF is to use the configure script. Other available options are using CMake directly or SNocs.

Using the configure Script

The script is a convenient frontend for CMake. See configure -h for a list of available options or read the online documentation.

make test
make install [as root, optional]

Using CMake

All available CMake variables are available online. CAF also can be included as CMake submodule or added as dependency to other CMake-based projects using the file cmake/FindCAF.cmake.

Using SNocs

A SNocs workspace is provided by GitHub user osblinnikov and documented online.


  • CMake
  • Pthread (until C++11 compilers support the new thread_local keyword)

Supported Compilers

  • GCC >= 4.8
  • Clang >= 3.2

Supported Operating Systems

  • Linux
  • Mac OS X
  • FreeBSD 10
  • Note for MS Windows: CAF relies on C++11 features such as variadic templates and unrestricted unions. We will support Visual Studio as soon as Microsoft's compiler implements all required C++11 features. In the meantime, you can use CAF via MinGW.

Scientific Use

If you use CAF in a scientific context, please use the following citation:

  author = {Dominik Charousset and Raphael Hiesgen and Thomas C. Schmidt},
  title = {{CAF - The C++ Actor Framework for Scalable and Resource-efficient Applications}},
  booktitle = {Proc. of the 5th ACM SIGPLAN Conf. on Systems, Programming, and Applications (SPLASH '14), Workshop AGERE!},
  month = {Oct.},
  year = {2014},
  publisher = {ACM},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},
  location = {Portland, OR},

You will find the paper online at

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