Install Guide

This is the place to start if you want to be able to build the Chaste source code, to run your own tests or simulations on your machine.

The easiest ways to install Chaste are:

Then obtain the source code, deciding whether you are a user or developer; see GettingStarted.

If you encounter any problems, or have/want an unusual setup, then the full DeveloperInstallGuide, or alternative guides listed at InstallGuides, may be useful.

Basic Installation

These instructions have been tried successfully on:

  • Fedora 24 (May 2017)
  • Fedora 25 (June 2017)

The following instructions detail an installation using the preferred versions of our dependencies, for a non-root user. For a full list of the compatibility of various versions of our dependencies see DependencyVersions. Some alternative versions of the libraries are incompatible, and others may have minor bugs.

NB: The newest versions of the libraries may not have been tested yet, so don't simply install the top one on each external download page! Ideally follow these instructions, but if this isn't possible (or you have pre-installed versions) then check DependencyVersions first.

Some pre-requisites

The following tools are required or useful. Most systems will already have these installed, or provide an easy way to set them up:

  • gcc and g++
  • gfortran --- if you want to build PETSc with HYPRE support (--download-hypre option below).
  • wget
  • python3, python3-venv and python3-pip
  • git --- git, for Code Developers or Code Users of development branches.
  • valgrind --- for memory testing - optional.

Since version 3.1, Chaste requires you to be using a 64 bit system. Almost all modern systems will be 64 bit. In the terminal, type

uname -m

If this returns i686, you have a 32 bit system, and you will not be able to use modern versions of Chaste.

Many systems will also include some of the below Chaste dependencies already. You can usually have a look for them with locate, e.g.

locate petsc

If you find pre-existing versions, then check DependencyVersions to see if they are compatible with Chaste, if so you may be able to skip their installation below, but make sure that you have the 'includes' and 'libraries' where required (if you don't know what this means then just follow all the below instructions!).

Define a folder to install all the dependencies in

First define the folder where you want to install the libraries that Chaste depends on. It is generally best if this is on a local hard disk for speed. We will also add the binary directory to the path right away, so we can run cmake (which we are about to install) without having to type the full path to this directory. How to do this depends on your shell, but if you are running bash the easiest way is to add it to your .bashrc file, e.g. using

gedit ~/.bashrc

At the end of the file add the following lines:

export CHASTE_LIBS=/home/scratch/chaste-libs

Save, quit and then re-load .bashrc (or log out and back in again):

source ~/.bashrc

If it doesn't already exist, create this directory:

mkdir -p $CHASTE_LIBS

The following instructions assume that:

  • wget is installed.
  • You are connected to the internet.

If either of these is not true, then download the http links in your browser and copy them onto the machine you wish to install on.


CMake is the recommended build system for Chaste, and is needed to build several of the dependencies listed below. Install CMake instead of Scons, unless you have a reason for doing otherwise.

On Fedora machines try the following line

sudo dnf install cmake

To install manually, use

tar -zxf cmake-3.5.1.tar.gz
cd cmake-3.5.1
./bootstrap --prefix=$CHASTE_LIBS --parallel=4 && make -j4 && make install
cd ..
rm -rf cmake-3.5.1.tar.gz cmake-3.5.1


Scons has been deprecated in favour of Cmake. These instructions are for legacy use of Scons only: unless you have a reason for installing Scons, it is recommended to skip this step.

tar zxf scons-2.3.1.tar.gz
cd scons-2.3.1
python install --prefix=$CHASTE_LIBS
cd ..
rm -rf scons-2.3.1.tar.gz scons-2.3.1


On Fedora machines try the following line

sudo dnf install boost-system boost-filesystem boost-serialization boost-program-options

To install manually, use

tar -zxf boost_1_58_0.tar.gz
cd boost_1_58_0
./ --prefix=$CHASTE_LIBS --with-libraries=system,filesystem,serialization,program_options
./b2 install
cd ..
rm -rf boost_1_58_0.tar.gz boost_1_58_0


Fedora provides a PETSc package, but unfortunately this does not currently contain all the files required to use PETSc with Chaste.

PETSc can install a lot of Chaste's dependencies for us.

(There is a --download-boost option, but this doesn't include the particular libraries we need, so we can't use that.)

These steps can take some time (potentially an hour or more).

tar -zxf petsc-lite-3.6.2.tar.gz
rm -f petsc-lite-3.6.2.tar.gz
cd petsc-3.6.2
# Define package versions

export PETSC_DIR=`pwd`

If you want to build PETSc with hypre, optionally remove --with-fc=0 and add --download-hypre=1 in the following code blocks. If you are not sure whether you want to build PETSc with hypre, leave the following as is.

export PETSC_ARCH=linux-gnu
./configure --with-make-np=4 --with-cc=gcc --with-cxx=g++ --with-fc=0 --with-x=false --with-ssl=false --download-f2cblaslapack=1 --download-mpich=$MPICH --download-hdf5=$HDF5 --download-parmetis=1 --download-metis=1 --download-sundials=1 --with-shared-libraries
make all test
# Optional - optimised petsc build too.
export PETSC_ARCH=linux-gnu-opt
./configure --with-make-np=4 --with-cc=gcc --with-cxx=g++ --with-fc=0 --with-x=false --with-ssl=false --download-f2cblaslapack=1 --download-mpich=$MPICH --download-hdf5=$HDF5 --download-parmetis=1 --download-metis=1 --download-sundials=1 --with-shared-libraries --with-debugging=0
make all test


On Fedora machines try the following line

sudo dnf install xsd

To install manually, use the distributed binaries.

tar -xjf xsd-4.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu.tar.bz2
ln -s $CHASTE_LIBS/xsd-4.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu/bin/xsd $CHASTE_LIBS/bin/xsd
rm -f xsd-4.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu.tar.bz2


On Fedora machines try the following line

sudo dnf install xerces-c xerces-c-devel

For machines without a system Xerces package:

tar -zxf xerces-c-3.1.4.tar.gz
cd xerces-c-3.1.4/
export XERCESCROOT=`pwd`
./configure --prefix=$CHASTE_LIBS
make all
make install
rm -rf xerces-c-3.1.4 xerces-c-3.1.4.tar.gz

chaste_codegen dependencies

chaste_codegen requires:

  • python3
  • python3-venv
  • python3-pip
  • an internet connection at least during the initial build

The build process will create a virtual environment and install chaste_codegen from pypi

If required a manual copy can also be installed as follows:

python3 -m venv `<name_of_new_venv_folder>`
python3 -m `<name_of_new_venv_folder>/bin/python -m pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel`
python3 -m `<name_of_new_venv_folder>/bin/python -m pip install chaste_codegen

For more details see InstallCodegen.


One of the following commands may well work on your system:

sudo apt-get install libvtk6-dev       #(Ubuntu/Debian)
sudo dnf install vtk-devel             #(Fedora/RedHat)

Otherwise, from source:

tar -zxf VTK-6.2.0.tar.gz
rm -f VTK-6.2.0.tar.gz
cd VTK-6.2.0
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$CHASTE_LIBS . && make -j4 && make install
cd ..
rm -rf VTK-6.2.0

You may need to:

  • sudo dnf install mesa-libGL-devel (or similar) to get OpenGL headers installed before this point, if you get a configure error stating that these headers have not been found
  • sudo dnf install redhat-rpm-config (or similar) if you get gcc: error: /usr/lib/rpm/redhat/redhat-hardened-cc1: No such file or directory
  • sudo dnf install libxt-devel (or similar) if you get an error about X11

Setting paths automatically

You probably then want to add various environment variables specifying these dependency locations to your .bashrc file, e.g. using

gedit ~/.bashrc

At the end of the file add the lines (leaving out packages you installed via a package manager):

export PETSC_DIR=$CHASTE_LIBS/petsc-3.6.2
export PETSC_ARCH=linux-gnu




export XSD_ROOT=$CHASTE_LIBS/xsd-4.0.0-x86_64-linux-gnu

Save, quit and then re-load .bashrc (or log out and back in again):

source ~/.bashrc

Configuring Chaste

Once you've installed the dependencies as above, you need to get hold of the Chaste code. See GettingStarted for the options to pick here.

Again, machines that use the Ubuntu package are handled automatically - you are ready to go.

Once you've done this, you are ready to build and run the test suite, see ChasteGuides/CmakeFirstRun.

Last modified 21 months ago Last modified on Sep 29, 2020, 2:49:19 PM

Attachments (1)

  • (4.9 KB) - added by jonc@… 8 years ago. An example hostconfig file to work with these basic installation instructions

Download all attachments as: .zip