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SEACAS [Documentation]

Build instructions

Download and build dependencies

There are a few externally developed third-party libraries (TPL) that are required to build SEACAS


Zoltan is a package in Trilinos and it must be enabled for a SEACAS build.


If you are using the netcdf-4 capability in the netcdf library or are using the MatIO library for conversion of exodus to/from matlab format, then you will need the hdf5 library.

The hdf5 library is used for the netcdf4 capability in netcdf which in turn is used by exodus. The netcdf4 capability is typically used for large models (>150 million elements); if you are not planning to create or read models of this size and do not want compression support, you do not have to build hdf5.

  • Download HDF5 from http://www.hdfgroup.org/HDF5/release/obtain5.html
  • untar it, creating a directory will will refer to as hdf5-X.X.X
  • cd to that directory and enter the command:
    • Serial: ./configure --prefix=${WHERE_TO_INSTALL} --enable-shared --enable-production --enable-debug=no --enable-static-exec
    • Parallel: CC=mpicc ./configure --prefix=${WHERE_TO_INSTALL} --enable-shared --enable-production --enable-debug=no --enable-static-exec --enable-parallel
  • make && make install


For a parallel build of Trilinos, especially to use the auto-decomposition support of the Ioss library, you will need the parallel-netcdf library, also known as pnetcdf.

CC=mpicc ./configure --disable-fortran --prefix ${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}
  • make && make install


The most recent released version is recommended. For use with Exodus, some local modifications to the netcdf.h include file are required. See NetCDF-Mapping.md for an explanation of why these modifications are required (or highly recommended)

  • Download the latest netcdf-c release from http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/downloads/netcdf/index.jsp

  • tar zxvf netcdf-4.5.0.tar.gz (or whatever the latest version is)

  • If the version is prior to 4.5.1, then you need to modify the following defines in seacas/TPL/netcdf/netcdf-4.5.0/include/netcdf.h. Versions 4.5.1 or later do not check these limits and can be run unmodified.

    #define NC_MAX_DIMS     65536    /* max dimensions per file */
    #define NC_MAX_VARS     524288   /* max variables per file */
  • cd netcdf-4.5.0 and enter the command:

    • serial
    CFLAGS="-I${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/include" \
    ./configure --enable-netcdf-4  \
      --disable-fsync --prefix ${WHERE_TO_INSTALL} \
      --disable-dap --disable-v2
    • parallel
    CC='mpicc' CFLAGS="-I${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/include" \
    ./configure --enable-netcdf-4  --enable-pnetcdf \
      --disable-fsync --prefix ${WHERE_TO_INSTALL} \
      --disable-dap --disable-v2
  • Check the results of the configure and make sure that the listings under features are similar to:

    # Features
    NetCDF-2 API:	no
    NetCDF-4 API:	yes
    CDF-5 Support:	yes
    HDF5 Support:	yes
    PNetCDF Support:	yes
    NC-4 Parallel Support:	yes

    There will be other features, but their settings are not important for seacas. For a serial build, PNetCDF and NC-4 Parallel Support should be no

  • make && make install


The MatIO library is used in the exo2mat and mat2exo programs which convert an exodus file to and from a MATLAB binary file. To use this do:

  • Download matio via git:

  • git clone https://github.com/tbeu/matio.git

  • cd matio and enter the command:

    # The -L is to find the hdf5 library...
    export LDFLAGS="-L${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/lib"
    ./configure --with-hdf5=${WHERE_TO_INSTALL} --enable-mat73 --enable-shared --prefix=${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}
  • make && make install


The Data Warehouse is a collection of data management tools that Sandia is currently developing to improve how datasets migrate between memory and storage resources in a distributed system. While the software is currently only available internally to Sandia, there will be an open source release of the tools during Fall of 2017. The Data Warehouse extensions to SEACAS are intended to serve as a placeholder for the upcoming release and are not intended for use by external developers at this time.

The repository data-warehouse-release is a superbuild for the Data Warehouse tools and was created to make the build process as easy as possible. It includes the files INSTALL.md and INSTALL_TPL.md which contain instructions for building Data Warehouse and it's TPLs: Boost, googletest, libfabric, and libhio (optional). These builds are straightforward so a "runconfigure.sh" script is left to the end-user. Note that it's possible to supply your own build of these tools. Following the SEACAS pattern for building TPLs:

* cd TPL
* git clone git@gitlab.sandia.gov:nessie-dev/data-warehouse-release.git
* follow the instructions in INSTALL_TPL.md and then INSTALL.md
* consider installing data-warehouse-release and it's TPLs to the directory set in  the $ACCESS env. var.

To build SEACAS with an installation of data-warehouse-release and it's TPLs, add the following lines to the list of cmake command arguments as found in the top-level cmake-config file. Where DataWarehouse_PATH in environment variable that contains the path to the top-level install directory for the Data Warehouse, and HAVE_DATA_WAREHOUSE={ON|OFF} is a variable defined in cmake-config.

-DDataWarehouse_LIBRARY_DIRS:PATH=${DataWarehouse_PATH}/lib     \
-DDataWarehouse_INCLUDE_DIRS:PATH=${DataWarehouse_PATH}/include \

Configure, Build, and Install Trilinos

At this time, you should have all external TPL libraries built and installed into ${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/lib and ${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/include. You are now ready to configure the SEACAS portion of the Trilinos cmake build.

The relavant defines for SEACAS are listed below:

 -D TPL_Netcdf_Enables_Netcdf4:BOOL=ON  (if built with hdf5 libraries which give netcdf-4 capability)
 -D TPL_Netcdf_Enables_PNetcdf:BOOL=ON  (if built with parallel-netcdf which gives parallel I/O capability)
 -D TPL_ENABLE_Matio:BOOL=ON  (set to OFF if not available)
 -D TPL_X11_INCLUDE_DIRS:PATH=/usr/X11R6/include  (SVDI, blot, fastq require X11 includes and libs)
 -D Trilinos_EXTRA_LINK_FLAGS:STRING="-L${WHERE_TO_INSTALL}/lib -lpnetcdf -lhdf5_hl -lhdf5 -lz" 

If you are using a NetCDF version prior to 4.3 and NetCDF was compiled with parallel enabled, then you also need to add:


This is automatically determined for NetCDF-4.3 and later.


There are a few unit tests for exodus, and aprepro that can be run via make test if you configured with -D SEACAS_ENABLE_TESTS=ON.

Contact information

Greg Sjaardema (gsjaardema@gmail.com, gdsjaar@sandia.gov)