PETSc (Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation), pronounced PET-see (the S is silent), is a suite of data structures and routines for the scalable (parallel) solution of scientific applications modeled by partial differential equations. It employs the MPI standard for all message-passing communication.

Versions and Availability

▶ Display Softenv Keys for petsc on all clusters
Machine Version Softenv Key
supermike2 3.4.2 +petsc-3.4.2-Intel-13.0.0-openmpi-1.6.2-CUDA-4.2.9
supermike2 3.4.2 +petsc-3.4.2-Intel-13.0.0-openmpi-1.6.2-CUDA-5.0
supermike2 3.4.4 +petsc-3.4.4-Intel-13.0.0-openmpi-1.6.2-complex
▶ Softenv FAQ?

The information here is applicable to LSU HPC and LONI systems.


SoftEnv is a utility that is supposed to help users manage complex user environments with potentially conflicting application versions and libraries.

System Default Path

When a user logs in, the system /etc/profile or /etc/csh.cshrc (depending on login shell, and mirrored from csm:/cfmroot/etc/profile) calls /usr/local/packages/softenv-1.6.2/bin/ to set up the default path via the SoftEnv database.

SoftEnv looks for a user's ~/.soft file and updates the variables and paths accordingly.

Viewing Available Packages

Using the softenv command, a user may view the list of available packages. Currently, it can not be ensured that the packages shown are actually available or working on the particular machine. Every attempt is made to present an identical environment on all of the LONI clusters, but sometimes this is not the case.


$ softenv
These are the macros available:
*   @default
These are the keywords explicitly available:
+amber-8                       Applications: 'Amber', version: 8 Amber is a
+apache-ant-1.6.5              Ant, Java based XML make system version: 1.6.
+charm-5.9                     Applications: 'Charm++', version: 5.9 Charm++
+default                       this is the default environment...nukes /etc/
+essl-4.2                      Libraries: 'ESSL', version: 4.2 ESSL is a sta
+gaussian-03                   Applications: 'Gaussian', version: 03 Gaussia
Listing of Available Packages

See Packages Available via SoftEnv on LSU HPC and LONI.

For a more accurate, up to date list, use the softenv command.


Currently there are some caveats to using this tool.

  1. packages might be out of sync between what is listed and what is actually available
  2. resoft and soft utilities are not; to update the environment for now, log out and login after modifying the ~/.soft file.

softenv is available on all LSU HPC and LONI clusters to all users in both interactive login sessions (i.e., just logging into the machine) and the batch environment created by the PBS job scheduler on Linux clusters and by loadleveler on AIX clusters..

Packages Availability

This information can be viewed using the softenv command:

% softenv
Managing Environment with SoftEnv

The file ~/.soft in the user's home directory is where the different packages are managed. Add the +keyword into your .soft file. For instance, ff one wants to add the Amber Molecular Dynamics package into their environment, the end of the .soft file should look like this:



To update the environment after modifying this file, one simply uses the resoft command:

% resoft
▶ Display Module Names for petsc on all clusters.
Machine Version Module
qb 3.5.0-real petsc/3.5.0-real/INTEL-140-MVAPICH2-2.0
smic 3.5.0-real petsc/3.5.0-real/INTEL-140-MVAPICH2-2.0
▶ **FIX-ME** FAQ?


  • The compilation of PETSc codes is deeply related to other packages, such as LAPACK/BLAS and MPI implementations (OpenMPI, MVAPICH or MPICH). All these related packages were associated with PETSc based on the same version of compiler when we installed PETSc on a specific HPC machine. Therefore it is not easy to write a single line for compiling PETSc codes. We highly recommend users go through a few exercises (provided by the PETSc official website) on an HPC machine, then copy the makefile of a provided example to their own directory and edit as needed for their application.


Last modified: November 12 2014 09:49:09.