Peano 4

Peano is typicall acquired through a git clone.

You have to clone this archive first. We grant access to  free of charge and the repository is public. However, we ask users to sign up for the software if they indend to push modifications to the code - which we very much appreciate. This way, we can report to funding agencies how frequent the software is used, and I also have at least some ideas which application areas benefit from the software and where it is actively used and developed. If you do not indend to modify the  core code base, you can just clone the code anonymously.

     git clone

I still maintain the "old" Peano in the repository (version 3). However, we now work with the fourth generation of Peano (p4). Therefore, the default master is called p4.

Dependencies and prerequisites

Peano's core is plain C++17 code. We however use a whole set of tools around it:

  • GNU autotools (automake) or CMake to set up the system (required).
  • C++17-compatible C++ compiler (required).
  • Python3 (optional; not required if you work only with the C++ baseline).
  • MPI2 (optional). MPI's multithreaded support is required.
  • Intel's Threading Building Blocks (TBB), OpenMP 5 or SYCL. We also can work with C++ threads, but found their performance suboptimal.
  • Doxygen if you want to create HTML pages of PDFs of the in-code documentation (recommended).

We test and maintain Peano for Linux only. If you prefer Windows or MacOS, it should work as long as you provide the mandatory tools from above, but we won't be able to help. Peano is well-integrated with a number of third party tools, but these are all optional.

Configure Peano

We currently provide support for the autotools and cmake with Peano. After you have cloned the repository, you will have to to set up your installation using either of these two build systems. This will allow you to build the Peano core libraries and is a step required before you use any application or tool built on top of Peano such as ExaHyPE or our PETSc multigrid environment.

Prepare the configure environment (autotools)

  • Ensure you have the autotool packages installed on your system. They typically are shipped in the packages autoconf, automake and libtool.
  • Set up the configure environment:
      libtoolize; aclocal; autoconf; autoheader; cp src/ .
      automake --add-missing
    These steps should only be required once, unless you push major revisions to the development branch.
  • Next, type in
      ./configure --help
    The --help option should give you some information about the available variants of Peano, its extensions and toolboxes.

I recommend that you start a first test without any additional flavours of Peano, i.e. to work with a plain ./configure call. Once the tests pass, I recommend that you add further options (IO) and/or parallelisation. Please note that the baseline configure is not sufficient for most applications, as it builds merely Peano's core libraries.

Besides Peano's toolboxes and extensions, compilers, linkers and both compiler and linker flags can be changed by resetting the corresponding environment variables (such as CXX or LDFLAGS or CCFLAGS) prior to the configure call. Alternatively, you can pass the variables to be used to configure through arguments (./configure CXX=icpc ..., e.g.). Please consult the --help output for details.

Most Linux tools prefer you to specify a dedicated installation directory via --prefix. For Peano, things are slightly different:   Peano is a mere set of libraries, i.e. not "useful" per se. It is applications built on top of Peano that become tools that you might later want to install/deploy on your system. Therefore, I ship Peano with static libraries only, and most users work with the code in the download/installation directory until they have constructed the application with the help of . So no need to specify a proper installation directory via --prefix.


Once the configuration has been successful, a simple


should build the  core. It also builds some examples and all the extensions and toolboxes you have manually enabled. All of these go into static libraries. The code is not small and you thus might prefer

 make -jx

with x being the number of parallel builds to use.

Installation test

Once you have compiled   I recommend that you run all tests using

 make check

The call launches Peano's unit test, i.e. all the unit tests for the core plus the extensions that you have enabled.

I have written the test target such that it works out-of-the-box for non-MPI calls. If you have configured with –with-mpi, then the unit tests will fail. But this does not mean that the unit tests are broken. It is simply due to the fact that the makefile's test target does not know that you have to use the mpirun prefix. To make a long story short: If you use MPI and you want to run the unit tests, you have to do so manually.

To run 2D and 3D tests individually, use


You can run these builds with different core counts and also MPI support if you have compiled with MPI. The executables contain both node correctness tests and MPI ping-pong tests, i.e. you can both assess a valid build plus a working MPI environment. If successful, you should always get a message alike

Python configuration

Peano's Python front-end (API) is developed with Python 3. Python 2 is not supported.

Package Installation

The easiest way to install the Peano python packages is to navigate to myPeanoDirectory/python first (you're in the right place if you see the pyproject.toml file), and then run

  pip3 install -e .

to install the packages.


  • It is strongly recommended to install the python packages in editable mode (which is what the -e flag does). Otherwise, you'll have to re-install the packages every time something is changed.
  • The packages are not, and likely will never be, available through PyPI or other official python package distributions. It simply doesn't make sense for them to be published this way.

Python paths

As an alternative to installing the packages, you can modify your Python paths. There are multiple ways to do so. The standard way is to set the PYTHONPATH:

   export PYTHONPATH=myPeanoDirectory/python

This can even be done in the .bashrc. If you "install" the Peano python packages this way, you will also need to manually install additional dependencies, as noted below.

Python Dependencies

Peano currently relies on the following Python packages/projects:

  • jinja2 for all the templated glue code. Most Linux distributions ship this one as
  • numpy for numeric operations. Most Linux distributions ship this one as
  • sympy for the symbolic modelling of partial differential equations. Most Linux distributions ship it through
  • matplotlib for plotting:
  • Optional: Some scripts in the particles/swift2 make use of the python hdf5 package:
  • Optional: Some scripts in the particles/swift2 make use of the VTUinterface package for visualisation. The package is available on github.


If you don't use Fortran in your own code, ignore this section.

Peano's core does not use any Fortran at all. However, some users use Fortran for their domain-specific programming. If you want to have a seemless integration of your particular Fortran choice through 's Python API, invoke ./configure ensuring that the Fortran variables—in particular the environment variable FC identifying the compiler—are properly set.

For many codes and the GNU Fortran compiler, you need the flag -fdefault-real-8. You can export FCFLAGS and make it contain this argument before you invoke configure. As the Peano's core does not use Fortran—it is only applications built on top of —you can redefine the flags later on.

Sample Installation script

Please find below a sample shell script that will install Peano with ExaHyPE enabled. Here we use GCC-12 and G++-12 as the C and C++ compiler, as well as OpenMP for the multithreading support. We also include some flags to suppress warnings.

#will clean up the Peano directory if files from previous builds are present<br>
make clean
#Standard operations<br>
libtoolize; aclocal; autoconf; autoheader; cp src/ .; automake --add-missing;
#Configure Peano with whatever we need <br>
./configure --enable-loadbalancing --enable-exahype --enable-blockstructured --with-multithreading=omp CXXFLAGS="--std=c++20 -fopenmp -Wno-unknown-attributes -Wno-attributes=clang::" LDFLAGS="-fopenmp" CC=gcc-12 CXX=g++-12
#Get number of threads available for quicker compilation<br>
THREADS_NUM=$(nproc --all)
#Compile and check build<br>
echo "Starting compilation with $THREADS_NUM threads."<br>
make -j$THREADS_NUM <br>
echo "Compilation complete. Now Checking..."<br>
#checks installation and runs the unit tests <br>
make check
exit 0