Beta Collective Knowledge workflow with portable research components to automate installation, execution and customization of SeisSol application from the SC18 Student Cluster Competition Reproducibility Challenge across different platforms and environments:
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LICENSE.txt clean up Nov 11, 2018

compatibility License

This repository contains a beta Collective Knowledge workflow to automate installation, execution and customization of SeisSol application from the SC18 Student Cluster Competition Reproducibility Challenge across different platforms, environments and datasets:

Note that this is an ongoing and evolving project!


  • Grigori Fursin, dividiti/cTuning foundation
  • Flavio Vella, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
  • Stephen Herbein, LLNL

CK Installation

CK requires minimal dependencies:

  • Python 2.7 or 3+
  • git command line client
  • wget tool

You can install CK in your local user space as follows:

$ git clone
$ export PATH=$PWD/ck/bin:$PATH

You can also install CK via PIP with sudo to avoid setting up environment variables yourself:

$ sudo pip install ck

Please check minimal CK installation guide and CK customization if you need more details about installation process. You can also find this CK getting started guide useful if you are not yet familiar with the CK framework.

Finally, please bear in mind that CK is a continuously evolving community project similar to Wikipedia, so if you don't like something or something is not working, please do not hesitate to send your feedback to the public mailing list, open tickets in related CK GitHub repositories, or even contribute patches, updates, new workflows and research components!

CK workflow installation

$ ck pull repo:ck-scc18

Note that since we strongly encourage reuse of shared code and data, CK will automatically check dependencies on other CK repositories based on this .ckr.json, and will also install them in a user environment. In this way, we a user can take advantage of all other CK modules, software detection plugins and packages shared by the community!

SeisSol proxy execution via CK workflow while adapting to a user environment

Now you can try to run a simple 1-node SeisSol proxy application just to test CK workflow:

ck run program:seissol-proxy

CK original approach is to detect all existing software dependencies (code, data sets, models, etc) installed in a user environment via shared software plugins, registering all versions in a CK light-weight virtual environment (automatically generated environment script with preset environment variables for a given version of a given software), and then using these virtual environments to build an application.

You can see all detected environments as follows:

$ ck show env

Only when a given software dependency is not found, CK will attempt to automatically install missing software via CK packages which are just wrappers with a unified API to other build tools and package managers such as spack, easybuild, make, cmake, scons, etc.

The whole point of CK is to let researchers reuse past workflows in a new environment and adapt to it even if it can fail, rather than enforcing the use of fixed and quickly outdated dependencies (such as when sharing Docker/VM images). At the same time, CK also allows stable versions of workflows with fixed versions of software dependencies!

Therefore, if something fails, the idea is to collaboratively fix shared workflows, modules, software detection plugins and packages, thus continuously improving and adapting them to new platforms and environments, in the spirit of Wikipedia!

For example, our LLNL colleagues already noticed that current software detection is very slow on NFS or some software detection plugins can hang, and opened a ticket which we will be resolving soon: Feel free to join our active CK Slack channel to monitor the progress and participate in discussions!

Helping CK detect software dependencies

Sometimes CK software detection plugins can't find a given software if it's in an unusual path, or if it simply takes too long to find it (see above issue with NFS). In such case, you can help CK to manually detect and register a given software.

For example, you can force CK to detect and register a given python version as follows:

$ ck detect soft --tags=compiler,python --full_path={full path to a given python compiler}
$ ck show env --tags=compiler

Intel compilers

If you do not yet have Intel compilers installed on your system, you can download them from here. You can then automatically detect and register them via CK as follows:

$ ck detect soft --tags=compiler,icc

Note that if Intel compiler was not automatically found, you can provide a path to Intel installation as follows:

$ ck detect soft --tags=compiler,icc --search-dirs={INSTALLATION_PATH}

If automatic detection is too slow (on NFS), use the following command:

$ ck detect soft --tags=compiler,icc --full_path={full path to}

Intel MPI library

Install Intel MPI lib following the instruction here or via apt

1. wget

3. sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/intelproducts.list
4. sudo sh -c 'echo deb all main > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/intel-mpi.list'
5. sudo apt-get update
6. sudo apt-get install intel-mpi

7. ck detect soft --tags=lib,mpi,intel

Note that if this library is installed in an unusual path, you can help CK detect it as follows:

7. ck detect soft --tags=lib,mpi,intel --search_dirs={INSTALLATION_PATH}

If automatic detection is too slow (on NFS), use the following command:

$ ck detect soft --tags=lib,mpi,intel --full_path={full path to mpiicc}


You can detect and register different GCC versions in the CK as follows:

$ ck detect soft --tags=compiler,gcc

OpenMPI will be later automatically detected or installed when you run seissol program for the first time.

SeisSol lib

You can also try to install SeisSol library yourself via CK (useful for debugging) before running the workflow:

ck install package:lib-seissol-scc18-proxy --reuse_deps

Running the workflow again

If all software dependencies were detected or installed successfully, they will be automatically picked up by CK when you run the same workflow again:

ck run program:seissol-proxy

Furthermore, all these environments will be now reused across all other CK workflows!

Installing SeisSol MPI version

For example, you can now try to install full SeisSol application as follows:

ck install package:lib-seissol-scc18 --reuse_deps

You can see that CK now reuses all registered environments, and attempt to detect or install the new ones:

$ ck show env


If compilation fails due to incompatible GCC (we had some issues building SeisSol using GCC 7.3 on a few platforms), you can detect other GCC versions via CK and then use them with above workflows as follows:

$ ck detect soft:compiler.gcc

and then restart SeisSol installation;

ck install package:lib-seissol-scc18 --reuse_deps --rebuild

If required GCC is in an unusual path, you can help CK detect it by providing a search path as follows:

$ ck detect soft:compiler.gcc --search_dirs={path to GCC installation}


$ ck detect soft:compiler.gcc --full_path={full path to gcc}

If you still encounter problems, please feel free to get in touch with the CK community and we will help you fix them. You feedback is very important since the whole point of CK is to continuously and collaboratively improve all shared research workflows and components thus gradually improving their stability and reproducibility across diverse platforms and environments!

Running SeisSol MPI workflow

We are now working with the community to automate execution of this application via mpirun - please join our CK mailing list to follow the news!

In the mean time, you can try to run beta SeisSol workflow as follows:

$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf

You can also start a CK virtual environment and run the code yourself as follows:

$ ck virtual env --tags=lib,seissol

> ls


Customizing SeisSol workflow

$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf --env.MPI_NUM_PROCESSES=16 --env.OMP_NUM_THREADS=54

SuperMUC Phase 2

$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf --env.MPI_NUM_PROCESSES=<<processes>> --env.OMP_NUM_THREADS=54 --env.KMP_AFFINITY="compact,granularity=thread"

Shaheen II

$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf --env.MPI_NUM_PROCESSES=<<processes>> --env.OMP_NUM_THREADS=62 --env.KMP_AFFINITY="compact,granularity=thread"


$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf --env.MPI_NUM_PROCESSES=<<processes>> --env.OMP_NUM_THREADS=65 --env.KMP_AFFINITY="proclist =[2-66],explicit,granularity=thread"

Extra parameters

$ export XDMFWRITER_BLOCK_SIZE=8388608

or via CK

$ ck run program:seissol-netcdf ... --env.XDMFWRITER_ALIGNMENT=8388608 \
    --env.XDMFWRITER_BLOCK_SIZE=8388608 \

Next steps

Adding CK modules and scripts to automatically run and validate all experiments, share results and generate interactive article similar to this one.

  • LLNL: add installation of all SeisSol dependencies with fixed versions (!) via spack;
  • LLNL+dividiti: automate execution of SeisSol MPI via Flux;
  • UGent: check installation of dependencies via easybuild;
  • dividiti: add public CK scoreboard to exchange results.