Manual installation

This section describes how to manually install Kassiopeia.

Downloading the code

The most recent version of Kassiopeia and its accompanying libraries can be found on its public github page:

To obtain the code, you may either download a .zip file containing the compressed source files from:

or, alternatively, use git to clone the repository with the following command:

git clone

The use of git is generally the preferred method as this will allow you to easily obtain updates and bug fixes without needing to download a fresh copy of the source. This can be done simply by executing the command:

git pull

from within the source directory. For a quick-start guide to git, please refere to the GitHub documentation:

Software dependencies

Required software dependencies

Kassiopeia has been designed with an eye towards keeping reliance on external software packages and libraries to a minimum. That being said, there are a few packages which are required in order to build the software.

The first and most obvious is a C/C++ compiler which is new enough to support the C++14 standard. The two recommended compilers are GCC and Clang. The minimum required versions are gcc 6.1 and clang 3.4.

Secondly, in order to build Kassiopeia, CMake version 3.14 or greater is needed, along with a suitable build tool such as GNU make or Ninja. The Kassiopeia build system is based on the flexible CMake system which can be configured by the command line. However, it is extremely useful to install the command line curses-based CMake GUI interface (ccmake) in order to easily configure optional dependencies.

Thirdly, Kassiopeia requires the Boost framework to be available for extended compilation features. It is not possible to compile Kassiopeia without a recent version of Boost! The minimum required version is 1.65.

Minimum requirements


On a Debian/Ubuntu Linux system the minimum software packages required by the Kassiopeia build system can be installed through the use of the package manager through the following command:

apt-get update -y && apt-get install -y \
    build-essential cmake cmake-curses-gui \
    libboost-all-dev libfftw3-dev libgsl-dev libhdf5-dev liblog4cxx-dev libomp-dev libopenmpi-dev \
    libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev libvtk7-dev libxml2-dev ocl-icd-opencl-dev zlib1g-dev

Tested on Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS & 22.04 LTS.


On a RedHat/Fedora Linux system, the packages can be installed through the command:

dnf install -y \
    @development-tools cmake cmake-gui \
    root-core root-io-xmlparser root-minuit2 root-spectrum root-genvector  \
    vtk vtk-qt \
    boost-devel fftw-devel gsl-devel hdf5-devel libomp-devel liburing-devel libxml2-devel log4cxx-devel \
    ocl-icd-devel openmpi-devel openssl-devel sqlite-devel vtk-devel zlib-devel

Tested on Fedora Linux 40.

Required dependencies

  • CMake version 3.14 or higher

  • g++ version 6.1 or higher (if compiling with GCC)

  • clang++ version 3.4 or higher (if compiling with Clang)

  • GSL

  • Boost version 1.65 or higher

  • ROOT version 6.24 or higher

Optional dependencies

External libraries

Beyond the build system, there are only two software packages which could be considered absolutely required dependencies, GSL and ROOT (though this is not strictly true, if the user only wishes to compile KEMField).

The GNU scientific library (GSL) is a collection of useful numerical routines. In the commands shown above, GSL was already installed through the package manager. It is also possible to install GSL from source.

The second required dependency is the ROOT software from CERN. While ROOT is not strictly required (e.g. if you are only interested in using Kassiopeia as a library for some external application), it does feature quite heavily as a means of saving simulation output data. Therefore, if you plan on saving the results and performing any analysis of Kassiopeia simulation results you will need to install ROOT.

It is recommended that you install ROOT by downloading and compiling the source code according to the instructions on the CERN website. Kassiopeia requires ROOT to be built with XML support, and ROOT itself requires the X11, Xft, Xpm, and Xext development libraries.

You may install the development packages needed by ROOT on Debian/Ubuntu Linux by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install -y libqt4-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev libxft-dev libxpm-dev

On RedHat/Fedora Linux, ROOT can be installed through the package manager:

dnf install -y root-core root-io-xmlparser root-minuit2 root-spectrum

Instead of building the ROOT libraries yourself, you can also download the binary release for your corresponding Linux distribution. The download links can be found on the CERN website.

After compiling and installing ROOT, in order to compile Kassiopeia on Linux, your $PATH and $LD_LIBRARY_PATH environmental variables should be configured such that you can run the executables root and root-config from the command line.

The configuration of these environmental variables is typically handled in a way to ensure that the script (distributed with the ROOT source code) is executed upon login. On Linux this an be done by adding the following (with the appropriate change to the file path) to your login script (~/.bashrc file or similar):

#Set up the ROOT environmental variables
source <path-to-ROOT-install>/bin/

Once you have GSL and ROOT installed, if you do not require any additional features, you can then proceed with configuring and compiling Kassiopeia.

A third important dependency, which however is completely optional, is VTK. The VTK libraries are used to provide visualization methods directly in Kassiopeia, and to write output files that can be used with external software. On most platforms, VTK can be easily installed through the package manager, as shown above.

Compiling the code using CMake

After installing the required dependencies, compiling a basic plain-vanilla version of Kassiopeia, with no extra features is a relatively simple process. For the sake of simplicity, this guide will assume that the Kassiopeia source code is located in the user’s home directory in ~/kassiopeia.

To start, first cd into Kassiopeia’s source directory and create a build folder to hold the temporary files that will be created during compilation by executing the commands:

cd ~/kassiopeia
mkdir ./build
cd ./build

Before running CMake, consider if you have a preference for which compiler is used. You may select the compiler by setting the environmental variables CXX and CC. For example, for Clang you should set them to:

export CXX=clang++  CC=clang

while for the GCC toolchain use:

export CXX=g++ CC=gcc

Once you are within the build directory, you may bring up the cmake configuration GUI by typing:

ccmake ..

You will be presented with screen which looks like this:


Hit c to configure the build, after which you will see some output messages from cmake:


The cmake output might contain important information about your build configuration and its dependencies. Look at the messages carefully. Then press e to go back to the menu, this will lead to a screen as below.


At this point you may either accept the default values or use the arrow keys to select which option you wish to change. Press the enter key to activate/deactive an option for modification. The installation directory for the Kassiopeia software can be specified by setting the value of the option CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX. Once the configuration variables are set (or if you accept the defaults), hit c to configure again, then g to generate the build files and exit.

Once the build files are generated, you can compile and install Kassiopeia by simply executing:

make && make install

or using the corresponding command for the build tool of your choice (e.g. ninja).

As compilation can take some time, you may use multiple CPU cores to accelerate the compilation (e.g run make -j 4 install to compile using four CPU cores).

Configuring optional dependencies

Kassiopeia has a plethora of optional dependencies which provide additional capabilities and enhance the performance of the software. This optional dependencies are configurable through the cmake GUI interface. However, some of these optional settings require additional libraries or special hardware in order to operate.

The use of some external libraries, (e.g. ROOT and VTK) is collectively toggled for all sub-modules at once. The Kassiopeia simulation software can link against these libraries using the Kasper flags outlined in the table below:

Collective options

CMake option name

Required software




Enable experimental code. Use with care!


Boost developer libraries

Build Boost dependent extensions.


The GNU scientific library (GSL)

Build GSL dependent extensions


The CERN ROOT libraries

Build ROOT dependent extensions.


Intel (TBB) thread building blocks

Build TBB based parallel processing tools.


Kitware’s visualization toolkit VTK

Build advanced tools for visualization.

By default, the KASPER_USE_ROOT and KASPER_USE_GSL flags are turned on, reflecting their importance for the default configuration of Kassiopeia. The KASPER_USE_BOOST flag cannot be turned off when building Kassiopeia, although it is not required for KEMField.

The KASPER_USE_VTK flag enables the use of VTK for additional visualization tools. It should be noted that if you have any interest in visualizing the data output from a Kassiopiea simulation, the use of VTK is highly recommended.

Toggling of additional optional dependencies is very granular and may be enabled/disabled for the individual sub-modules. It is important to note changes in one sub-module may affect others since there is some interdependence between optional features across sub-modules. This is automatically accounted for by the CMake system in order to prevent situations where prerequisites are missing. To summarize the possible optional dependencies that are available, they have been divided according to the sub-module(s) which they modify.

For performance reasons, all of the sub-modules explicitly allow the toggling of debugging messages (which are disabled by default). If the corresponding flags (see below) are turned on, the software may run at reduced speed, but allows to enable printing of additional messages during execution. This is mostly useful for in-depth debugging.

Build options

The following options control the overall build process:

Build options

CMake option name

Required sub-modules



Kommon, KGeoBag, KEMField

Build the Kassiopeia sub-module.


Kommon, KGeoBag

Build the KEMField sub-module.



Build the KGeoBag sub-module.



Build the Kommon sub-module.


(Any active)

Build unit tests for active sub-modules.

The BUILD_UNIT_TESTS flag enables the compilation of additional unit tests for some parts of the code. The tests only built for the active sub-modules. The unit tests uses the GoogleTest suite, which is embedded in the sources so that not external dependencies are required.

Kassiopeia module

The Kassiopeia sub-module has a rather limited set of additional options, which is:

Kassiopeia options

CMake option name

Required software




Enable Kassiopeia debugging messages.

KEMField module

KEMField has a rather extensive set of additional compiler options so that it maybe adapted for use on special purpose machines (computing clusters, GPUs, etc.) for field solving tasks. These are listed as follows:

KEMField options

CMake option name

Required software




Enable KEMField debugging messages.



Build fast-multipole library applications.



Build fast-multipole developter tests.



Build developer tests.


The CUDA developer toolkit

Enable CUDA extensions for NVidia GPUs.


The FFTW fast Fourier transform library

Enable use of FFTW (conflicts with OpenCL).


The GNU scientific library (GSL)

Enable GSL dependent extensions, enables CBLAS.


An MPI implementation (e.g. OpenMPI or MPICH)

Enable multi-processing using MPI.


The OpenCL headers and library

Enable use of GPU/Accelerator devices.


The ZLIB compression library

Use ZLIB for compression, default is miniz.

KGeoBag module

The additional optional dependencies of the KGeoBag module are as follows:

KGeoBag options

CMake option name

Required software




Enable KGeoBag debugging messages.



Build developer test executables.

Kommon module

The optional dependencies the Kommon sub-module are given in the following table:

Kommon options

CMake option name

Required software




Enable Kommon debugging messages.


Apache Log4CXX library

Enable enhanced logging tools.

Miscellaneous options

Some of the miscellaneous not specific to a sub-module are given below:

Miscellaneous options

CMake option name

Default setting




Build type; other options are Debug or Release.



Target directory for the installation.



Allow code profiling with the gperftools framework.



Activate some compiler flags to improve performance.

The COMPILER_TUNE_OPTIONS flag activates the compiler options:

-march=native -mfpmath=sse -funroll-loops.

Since this produces code compiled for the current CPU, this option should not be used on a computing cluster or other architectures where compiled code is shared between different machines. Be aware that this option is largely untested.