Getting started using Enzo-E

This page will help you get Enzo-E and Cello up and running. It covers downloading the source code, porting the code to new platforms, configuring and compiling the code, and running a sample test problem.

Other pages are available for helping to get started on specific architectures, including the “Comet” supercomputer at San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC), and the NSF Petascale supercomputer “Blue Waters” at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).


Enzo-E / Cello is currently hosted on (previously beta-testing. To obtain the latest version of the source code, you may clone it from the repository Enzo-E / Cello github repository:

git clone

Before compiling Enzo-E / Cello, you may also need to download and install 1.``Charm++``, 2.``HDF5``, 3.``libpng``, 3.``libboost``, and 4.``scons``:

1. Install Charm++

Charm++ can be downloaded here.

To build Charm++ on a Mac, try this:

./build charm++ netlrts-darwin-x86_64 -j4 --with-production

If you’re running Linux, try building Charm++ using this:

./build charm++ netlrts-linux-x86_64   -j4  --with-production

Charm++ also provides a helpful interactive script that can be used to configure and install Charm++ on numerous other platforms.

2. Install HDF5

HDF5 is a “data model, library, and file format for storing and managing data”, and is the primary library used by Enzo-E / Cello for data output.

If HDF5 is not already installed on your machine, it may be available through your operating system distribution, otherwise it can be downloaded from the HDF5 website. Enzo-E / Cello currently uses the “serial” (non-MPI) version of HDF5.

3. Install libpng

libpng is the official PNG reference library”, and is the image format used by Enzo-E / Cello.

If libpng is not already installed on your machine, it may be available through your operating system distribution, otherwise it can be downloaded from the libpng website.

4. Install libboost-dev

Boost provides free peer-reviewed portable C++ source libraries.”

If libboost-dev is not already installed on your machine, it may be available through your operating system distribution, otherwise it can be downloaded from the libboost website.

5. Install scons

SCons” is a “software construction tool” that is used to build Enzo-E / Cello using scripts written in python.

scons can be install via pip or if you are using Anaconda or Miniconda through conda. It may also be pre-packed for installation for your operating system distribution. Building Enzo-E / Cello requires a version of scons built for Python 3. See Installing SCons for installation details.

6. Install Grackle

By default Enzo-E requires the Grackle chemistry and cooling library. If you do not need to use Grackle, you can change the line use_grackle = 1 in the SConstruct file to use_grackle = 0. See the Grackle documentation for installation instructions.


There are currently two configuration settings that must be set before building Enzo-E and Cello: CELLO_ARCH to specify the computer platform, and CELLO_PREC to specify the floating-point precision. Additionally, some configurations require CHARM_HOME to be specified.

Other optional settings are available as well. These are initialized in the top-level SConstruct file under the “USER CONFIGURATION” heading. Please consult the SConstruct file itself for documentation on these optional settings.

1. Specify machine

Before compiling Enzo-E / Cello, you first have to define which set of available machine-dependent configuration settings to use via the CELLO_ARCH environment variable. Some examples include the following:

export CELLO_ARCH=linux_gnu compile for a generic GNU Linux system
export CELLO_ARCH=ncsa_bw compile for NCSA’s Blue Waters Petascale Platform
export CELLO_ARCH=comet_gnu compile for SDSC’s Comet cluster using GNU compilers

Note that some machines, including Blue Waters and Comet, will additionally require certain modules to be loaded, including compilers and HDF5. See the corresponding getting started pages Getting Started: SDSC Comet or Getting Started: NCSA Blue Waters for architecture-specific details.

See the porting section below for how to add your own architecture to the list, or how to modify the settings for these machines.

2. Specify precision

Enzo-E must be compiled either using single-precision or double-precision. To specify the precision to use in Enzo-E, set the CELLO_PREC environment variable:

export CELLO_PREC=single 32-bit Enzo field data
export CELLO_PREC=double 64-bit Enzo field data

3. Specify Charm++ directory

The location of the Charm++ installation directory should be specified using the CHARM_HOME environment variable.

export CHARM_HOME=$HOME/Charm/charm.6.10 Set directory of Charm++ used

4. Specify Grackle directory

At compile time, Enzo-E will try to automatically find your Grackle installation. If compilation fails because grackle.h cannot be included, it is possible that the directory was incorrectly identified. You can specify Grackle’s installation directory with the GRACKLE_HOME environment variable:

export GRACKLE_HOME=$HOME/local Set directory of Grackle installation


If Cello does not support your desired hardware platform, you will have to provide settings so that the build system knows what compilers to use, plus any optimization settings, library paths, etc. This is done by creating a new machine configuration file in the config/ subdirectory, and editing the top-level SConstruct file to read your new machine configuration file.

1. Create config file

Machine configuration files are found in the config/ subdirectory. To create a new one for your machine, try copying an existing one and editing it. Configuration variables include the following:

is_arch_valid This must be set to 1
flags_arch Compiler flags, such as optimization settings or warning levels
flags_link_charm Link flags, such as optimization settings
cc The C compiler to use
f90 The Fortran compiler to use
flags_prec_single Fortran flags for using single-precision by default
flags_prec_double Fortran flags for using double-precision by default
libpath_fortran Path for any Fortran libraries required when linking with C++
libs_fortran Fortran libraries required when linking with C++
charm_path Path to the Charm++ installation directory
papi_inc Path to PAPI performance library include files (OPTIONAL)
papi_path Path to PAPI performance library library files (OPTIONAL)
hdf5_inc Path for HDF5 include files
hdf5_lib Path for HDF5 library files
png_path Path to the libpng library
grackle_path Path to the Grackle chemistry and cooling library (OPTIONAL)

2. Edit SConstruct

To incorporate your new machine configuration file into the Enzo-E / Cello build system, insert a new line to the following list in the SConstruct file in the top-level Enzo-E / Cello directory. (Specific names in the SConstruct file and those in the list fragment below may differ due to the file being updated.)

if   (arch == "gordon_gnu"):   from gordon_gnu   import *
elif (arch == "gordon_intel"): from gordon_intel import *
elif (arch == "gordon_pgi"):   from gordon_pgi   import *
elif (arch == "comet_gnu"):    from comet_gnu    import *
elif (arch == "linux_gnu"):    from linux_gnu    import *


After configuring Cello for your computer, the Cello framework and Enzo-E application can be compiled using “make”, which in turn calls the included ./ script. Other options are available for generating useful files, generating doxygen documentation, running regression tests, and running code analysis tools.

make Compile Enzo-E as ./bin/enzo-e
make clean Remove object and test files
make reset Clear any settings from an incomplete build
make doc Generate doxygen documentation from source in src-html (requires doxygen )
make test Run regression tests
make diff Generate org-mode '' file from 'hg diff' output
make log Generate org-mode '' file from 'hg log' output
make gdb Generate org-mode '' from gdb 'where' output in gdb.out
make cccc Compute code quality metrics in src/.cccc/cccc.html
make coverity Compile Enzo-E / Cello using the Coverity static analysis tool


In this section we run Enzo-E on a simple “Hello World” test program and take a look at Enzo-E’s output.

1. Run Enzo-E

An included “Hello World” problem can be run using the following from the $CELLO_HOME directory:

charmrun +p4 bin/enzo-e input/HelloWorld/

This assumes that the charmrun command is in your path. If it is not, then you will need to include the path name as well, e.g.:

~/Charm/bin/charmrun +p4 bin/enzo-e input/HelloWorld/

This also assumes that local connections can be established passwordless. If errors like

Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic,password,hostbased).
Charmrun> Error 255 returned from remote shell (localhost:0)

are displayed a node local run (i.e., no “remote” connections even to the local host) could be used instead by add ++local to charmrun, e.g.:

~/Charm/bin/charmrun ++local +p4 bin/enzo-e input/HelloWorld/

If you receive an error like

Charmrun> Timeout waiting for node-program to connect

trying running ./bin/enzo-e without charmrun as crashes due to, e.g., libraries not being found may not be displaying.

If all goes well, Enzo-E will run the Hello World problem. Below are some of the generated images from the longer-running “” problem (note “” runs for about an hour, compared to a couple minutes for the shorter “” input parameter file). These images show density and mesh hierarchy structure with blocks colored by level and by age.

Time = 0.00

../_images/hello-de-0000.png ../_images/hello-mesh-level-0000.png ../_images/hello-mesh-age-0000.png

Time = 0.05

../_images/hello-de-0086.png ../_images/hello-mesh-level-0086.png ../_images/hello-mesh-age-0086.png

Time = 0.10

../_images/hello-de-0165.png ../_images/hello-mesh-level-0165.png ../_images/hello-mesh-age-0165.png

If you look at the parameter file contents, you will notice that there are some "include" directives that include other files. When Enzo-E / Cello runs, it will generate a "parameters.out" file, which is the input file but with the included files inlined. This "parameters.out" file is itself a valid Enzo-E / Cello parameter file (though you may wish to rename it before using it as a parameter file to avoid it being overwritten.)

If you encounter any problems in getting Enzo-E to compile or run, please contact the Enzo-E / Cello community at, and someone will be happy to help resolve the problems.

2020-04-10: Updated with corrections from Joshua Smith.