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Grappa is a runtime system for scaling irregular applications on commodity clusters. It's a PGAS library and runtime system that allows you to write global-view C++11 code that runs on distributed-memory computers.

Note: all the Grappa developers have graduated and gone on to other things, so the code is no longer maintained. Bit rot has begun to set in, and you are likely to run into problems running it; hopefully our documentation will help.


You must have a 64-bit Linux system with the following installed to build Grappa:

  • Build system
    • Ruby >= 1.9.3
    • CMake >= 2.8.12
  • Compiler
    • GCC >= 4.7.2 (we depend on C++11 features only present in 4.7.2 and newer)
    • Or: Clang >= 3.4
  • External:
    • MPI (must support MPI-3)
      • OpenMPI >= 1.7.4
      • MVAPICH2 >= 1.9
      • MPICH >= 3.1
      • Intel MPI >=

The configure script deals with some other dependences automatically. You may want to override the default behavior for your specific system. See for more details.

In addition, our test and run scripts all assume your machine uses the Slurm job manager. You may still run jobs with using any other MPI launcher, but you'll have to set necessary environment variables yourself. See doc/ for more details.

Quick Start

Ensure you have the dependences described above. Then checkout the code:

git clone

If you don't have github keys set up and get an authentication error, then try the http URL

git clone

Then download Grappa's third-party dependences:

Now build grappa and hello world.

cd grappa
./configure --third-party-tarfile=</full/path/to/grappa-third-party-downloads.tar>
cd build/Make+Release
make demo-hello_world

Now you should have a binary which you can launch as an MPI job. If you have Slurm installed on your system, you may be able to run jobs like this:

srun --nodes=2 --ntasks-per-node=2 -- applications/demos/hello_world/hello_world.exe

If that doesn't work, use whatever commands are required to launch MPI jobs on your system.

For more detailed instructions on building Grappa, see

To run all our tests (a lengthy process) on a system using the Slurm job manager, do make check-all-pass. More information on testing is in doc/

Learning More

You can learn more about Grappa's design and use in four ways:

  1. Follow the tutorial in the doc/tutorial directory. Read about running jobs, debugging, tracing, and other low-level functionality in the doc/ directory in the repo.
  2. Take a look at the autogenerated API docs, hosted at Or you can build them yourself as explained in
  3. Read our papers, available from the Grappa website.

Virtual machine images

We have a couple other ways to try Grappa without installing it yourself!

Getting Help

The best way to ask questions is to submit an issue on GitHub: by keeping questions there we can make sure the answers are easy for everyone to find. View previously-discussed issues here: If your question isn't already answered, please submit an issue there!

Grappa developers communicate through the grappa-dev mailing list hosted at


We welcome contributions, both in the core software and (especially!) in applications. Get in touch with us if you're thinking of contributing something!



Grappa: scaling irregular applications on commodity clusters







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