Installing SimGrid

SimGrid should work out of the box on Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, and Windows (under Windows, you need to install the Windows Subsystem Linux to get more than the Java bindings).

Pre-compiled Packages

Binaries for Linux

To get all of SimGrid on Debian or Ubuntu, simply type one of the following lines, or several lines if you need several languages.

$ apt install libsimgrid-dev  # if you want to develop in C or C++
$ apt install simgrid-java    # if you want to develop in Java
$ apt install python3-simgrid # if you want to develop in Python

If you use the Nix package manager, the latest SimGrid release is packaged as simgrid in Nixpkgs. Previous SimGrid versions are maintained in NUR-Kapack and are available pre-compiled in release and debug modes on the capack cachix binary cache — refer to NUR-Kapack’s documentation for usage instructions.

If you use a pacman-based system (e.g., Arch Linux and derived distributions), the latest SimGrid is available in the simgrid AUR package — refer to AUR official documentation for installation instructions.

If you build pre-compiled packages for other distributions, drop us an email.

Stable Java Package

The jar file can be retrieved from the Release page. This file is self-contained, including the native components for Linux, macOS and Windows. Copy it to your project’s classpath and you’re set.

Nightly built Java Package

Head to the corresponding GitHub Action and pick the last green build. At the bottom of the build page, click on the jar-final artefact. Open this zip file to find the jar you need. This jar can be used under Linux, Mac OSX or Windows, as you wish.

Binary Java Troubleshooting

Here are some error messages that you may get when trying to use the binary Java package.

Your architecture is not supported by this jarfile

If your system is not supported, you should compile your own jarfile by compiling SimGrid from the source.

Library not found: boost-context

You should obviously install the boost-context library on your machine, for example with apt.

Version numbering and deprecation

SimGrid tries to be both a research instrument that you can trust, and a vivid project targeting the future issues. We have 4 stable versions per year, numbered 3.24 or 3.25. Backward compatibility is ensured for one year: Code compiling without warning on 3.24 will still compile with 3.28, but maybe with some deprecation warnings. You should update your SimGrid installation at least once a year and fix those deprecation warnings: the compatibility wrappers are usually removed after 4 versions. Another approach is to never update your SimGrid installation, but we don’t provide any support to old versions.

Interim versions (also called pre-versions) may be released between stable releases. They are numbered 3.X.Y, with even Y (for example, 3.23.2 was released on July 8. 2019 as a pre-version of 3.24). These versions should be as usable as regular stable releases, even if they may be somewhat less tested and documented. They play no role in our deprecation handling, and they are not really announced to not spam our users.

Version numbered 3.X.Y with odd Y are git versions. They often work, but no guarantee is given whatsoever (all releases are given “as is”, but that’s even more so for these unreleased versions).

Installing from the Source

Getting the Dependencies

C++ compiler (either g++, clang, or icc).

We use the C++17 standard, and older compilers tend to fail on us. It seems that g++ 7.0 or higher is required nowadays (because of boost). SimGrid compiles well with clang or icc too.

Python 3.

SimGrid should build without Python. That is only needed by our regression test suite.

cmake (v3.5).

ccmake provides a nicer graphical interface compared to cmake. Press t in ccmake if you need to see absolutely all configuration options (e.g., if your Python installation is not standard).

boost (at least v1.48, v1.59 recommended)
  • On Debian / Ubuntu: apt install libboost-dev libboost-context-dev

  • On CentOS / Fedora: dnf install boost-devel

  • On macOS with homebrew: brew install boost

Eigen3 (optional)
  • On Debian / Ubuntu: apt install libeigen3-dev

  • On CentOS / Fedora: dnf install eigen3-devel

  • On macOS with homebrew: brew install eigen

  • Use EIGEN3_HINT to specify where it’s installed if cmake doesn’t find it automatically.

Java (optional):
  • Debian / Ubuntu: apt install default-jdk libgcj18-dev (or any version of libgcj)

  • macOS or Windows: Grab a full JDK

For platform-specific details, please see below.

Getting the Sources

Grab the last stable release from FramaGit, and compile it as follows:

$ tar xf simgrid-3-XX.tar.gz
$ cd simgrid-*
$ cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/simgrid -GNinja.
$ make
$ make install

If you want to stay on the bleeding edge, get the current git version, and recompile it as with stable archives. You may need some extra dependencies.

$ git clone
$ cd simgrid
$ cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/simgrid .
$ make
$ make install

Build Configuration

This section is about compile-time options, which are very different from run-time options. Compile-time options fall into two categories. SimGrid-specific options define which part of the framework to compile while Generic options are provided by cmake itself.


Our build system often gets mixed up if you change something on your machine after the build configuration. For example, if SimGrid fails to detect your fortran compiler, it is not enough to install a fortran compiler. You also need to delete all Cmake files, such as CMakeCache.txt. Since Cmake also generates some files in the tree, you may need to wipe out your complete tree and start with a fresh one when you install new dependencies.

Another (better) solution is to build out of the source tree.

Generic build-time options

These options specify, for example, the path to various system elements (Python path, compiler to use, etc). In most case, CMake automatically discovers the right value for these elements, but you can set them manually as needed. Notably, such variables include CC and CXX, defining the paths to the C and C++ compilers; CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS specifying extra options to pass to the C and C++ compilers; and PYTHON_EXECUTABLE specifying the path to the Python executable.

The best way to discover the exact name of the option that you need to change is to press t in the ccmake graphical interface, as all options are shown (and documented) in the advanced mode.

Once you know their name, there are several ways to change the values of build-time options. You can naturally use the ccmake graphical interface for that, or you can use environment variables, or you can prefer the -D flag of cmake.

For example, you can change the compilers by issuing these commands to set some environment variables before launching cmake:

$ export CC=gcc-5.1
$ export CXX=g++-5.1

The same can be done by passing -D parameters to cmake, as follows. Note that the dot at the end is mandatory (see Out of Tree Compilation).

$ cmake -DCC=clang -DCXX=clang++ .

SimGrid compilation options

Here is the list of all SimGrid-specific compile-time options (the default choice is in upper case).


Where to install SimGrid (/opt/simgrid, /usr/local, or elsewhere).

enable_compile_optimizations (ON/off)

Ask the compiler to produce efficient code. You probably want to leave this option activated, unless you plan to modify SimGrid itself: efficient code takes more time to compile, and appears mangled to some debuggers.

enable_compile_warnings (on/OFF)

Ask the compiler to issue error messages whenever the source code is not perfectly clean. If you are a SimGrid developer, you have to activate this option to enforce the code quality. As a regular user, this option is of little use.

enable_debug (ON/off)

Disabling this option discards all log messages of severity debug or below at compile time (see Textual logging). The resulting code is marginaly faster than if you discard these messages at runtime, but it obviously becomes impossible to get any debug info from SimGrid when things go wrong.

enable_documentation (on/OFF)

Generates the documentation pages. Building the documentation is not as easy as it used to be, and you should probably use the online version for now.

enable_java (on/OFF)

Generates the java bindings of SimGrid. You must also enable MSG for this to work.

enable_lib_in_jar (ON/off)

Embeds the native java bindings into the produced jar file.

enable_lto (ON/off)

Enables the Link Time Optimization in the C++ compiler. This feature really speeds up the code produced, but it is fragile with older gcc versions.

enable_maintainer_mode (on/OFF)

(dev only) Regenerates the XML parsers whenever the DTD is modified (requires flex and flexml).

enable_mallocators (ON/off)

Activates our internal memory caching mechanism. This produces faster code, but it may fool the debuggers.

enable_model-checking (on/OFF)

Activates the formal verification mode. This will hinder simulation speed even when the model checker is not activated at run time.

enable_msg (on/OFF)

Activates the MSG legacy interface.

enable_ns3 (on/OFF)

Activates the ns-3 bindings. See section ns-3 as a SimGrid model.

enable_smpi (ON/off)

Allows one to run MPI code on top of SimGrid.

enable_smpi_MBI_testsuite (on/OFF)

Adds many extra tests for the model checker module.

enable_smpi_MPICH3_testsuite (on/OFF)

Adds many extra tests for the MPI module.

minimal-bindings (on/OFF)

Take as few optional dependencies as possible, to get minimal library bindings in Java and Python.

NS3_HINT (empty by default)

Alternative path into which ns-3 should be searched for.

EIGEN3_HINT (empty by default)

Alternative path into which Eigen3 should be searched for.


Where to install the Python module library. By default, it is set to the cmake Python3_SITEARCH variable if installing to /usr, and a modified version of that variable if installing to another path. Just force another value if the auto-detected default does not fit your setup.


Default compiler options to use in smpicc, smpicxx, or smpiff. This can be useful to set options like “-m32” or “-m64”.

Reset the build configuration

To empty the CMake cache (either when you add a new library or when things go seriously wrong), simply delete your CMakeCache.txt. You may also want to directly edit this file in some circumstances.

Out of Tree Compilation

By default, the files produced during the compilation are placed in the source directory. It is however often better to put them all in a separate directory: cleaning the tree becomes as easy as removing this directory, and you can have several such directories to test several parameter sets or architectures.

For that, go to the directory where the files should be produced, and invoke cmake (or ccmake) with the full path to the SimGrid source as last argument.

$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake [options] ..
$ make

Existing Compilation Targets

In most cases, compiling and installing SimGrid is enough:

$ make
$ make install # try "sudo make install" if you don't have the permission to write

In addition, several compilation targets are provided in SimGrid. If your system is well configured, the full list of targets is available for completion when using the Tab key. Note that some of the existing targets are not really for public consumption so don’t worry if some do not work for you.

  • make: Build the core of SimGrid that gets installed, but not any example.

  • make tests: Build the tests and examples.

  • make simgrid: Build only the SimGrid library. Not any example nor the helper tools.

  • make s4u-comm-pingpong: Build only this example (works for any example)

  • make java-all: Build all Java examples and their dependencies

  • make python-bindings: Build the Python bindings

  • make clean: Clean the results of a previous compilation

  • make install: Install the project (doc/ bin/ lib/ include/)

  • make dist: Build a distribution archive (tar.gz)

  • make distcheck: Check the dist (make + make dist + tests on the distribution)

  • make documentation: Create SimGrid documentation

If you want to see what is really happening, try adding VERBOSE=1 to your compilation requests:

$ make VERBOSE=1

Testing your build

Once everything is built, you may want to test the result. SimGrid comes with an extensive set of regression tests (as described in the @ref inside_tests “insider manual”). The tests are not built by default, so you first have to build them with make tests. You can then run them with ctest, that comes with CMake. We run them every commit and the results are on our Jenkins.

$ make tests                # Build the tests
$ ctest                     # Launch all tests
$ ctest -R s4u              # Launch only the tests whose names match the string "s4u"
$ ctest -j4                 # Launch all tests in parallel, at most 4 concurrent jobs
$ ctest --verbose           # Display all details on what's going on
$ ctest --output-on-failure # Only get verbose for the tests that fail

$ ctest -R s4u -j4 --output-on-failure # You changed S4U and want to check that you  \
                                       # didn't break anything, huh?                 \
                                       # That's fine, I do so all the time myself.

macOS-specific instructions

SimGrid compiles like a charm with clang (version 3.0 or higher) on macOS:

$ cmake -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=/path/to/clang -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/path/to/clang++ .
$ make

Troubleshooting your macOS build.

CMake Error: Parse error in cache file build_dir/CMakeCache.txt. Offending entry: /SDKs/MacOSX10.8.sdk

This was reported with the XCode version of clang 4.1. The work around is to edit the CMakeCache.txt file directly, to change the following entry:


You can safely ignore the warning about “-pthread” not being used, if it appears.

/usr/include does not seem to exist

This directory does not exist by default on modern macOS versions, and you may need to create it with xcode-select -install

Windows-specific instructions

The best solution to get SimGrid working on windows is to install the Ubuntu subsystem of Windows 10. All of SimGrid (but the model checker) works in this setting.

Native builds not very well supported. Have a look to our appveypor configuration file to see how we manage to use mingw-64 to build the DLL that the Java file needs.

The drawback of MinGW-64 is that the produced DLL are not compatible with MS Visual C. Some clang-based tools seem promising to fix this, but this is of rather low priority for us. It it’s important for you and if you get it working, please @ref community_contact “tell us”.

Python-specific instructions

Once you have the Python development headers installed as well as a recent version of the pybind11 <> module (version at least 2.4), recompiling the Python bindings from the source should be as easy as:

# cd simgrid-source-tree
$ python build install

Starting with SimGrid 3.13, it should even be possible to install simgrid without downloading the source with pip:

$ pip install simgrid

Java-specific instructions

Once you have the full JDK installed, things should be as simple as:

$ cmake -Denable_java=ON -Dminimal-bindings=ON .
$ make  simgrid-java_jar # Only build the jarfile

After the compilation, the file `simgrid.jar` is produced in the root directory.

Troubleshooting Java Builds

Sometimes, the build system fails to find the JNI headers. First locate them as follows:

$ locate jni.h

Then, set the JAVA_INCLUDE_PATH environment variable to the right path, and relaunch cmake. If you have several versions of JNI installed (as above), pick the one corresponding to the report of javac -version

$ export JAVA_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64/include/
$ cmake -Denable_java=ON .
$ make

Note that the filename `jni.h` was removed from the path.

Linux Multi-Arch specific instructions

On a multiarch x86_64 Linux, it should be possible to compile a 32-bit version of SimGrid with something like:

$ CFLAGS=-m32                                                      \
  CXXFLAGS=-m32                                                    \
  FFLAGS=-m32                                                      \
  PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/pkgconfig/             \
  cmake .                                                          \
    -DCMAKE_SYSTEM_PROCESSOR=i386                                  \
    -DCMAKE_Fortran_COMPILER=/some/path/to/i686-linux-gnu-gfortran \
    -DGFORTRAN_EXE=/some/path/to/i686-linux-gnu-gfortran           \
    -DSMPI_C_FLAGS=-m32                                            \
    -DSMPI_CXX_FLAGS=-m32                                          \

If needed, implement i686-linux-gnu-gfortran as a script:

#!/usr/bin/env sh
exec gfortran -m32 "$@"