2. Getting Started

This section describes how to build and run LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, for both new and experienced users.

2.1. How to obtain LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC

We recommend to use git to download the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC package. Make sure that the git command is available on your system. On a Ubuntu/Debian box this can be achieved by

sudo apt-get install git


Users of a LIGGGHTS-PREMIUM version will need to replace the LIGGGHTS-PUBLIC strings shown below by their respective version string. This string is equal to LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC without the “(R)”.

LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can then be downloaded by typing

git clone git@github.com:CFDEMproject/LIGGGHTS-PUBLIC.git

Under certain circumstances (e.g. company firewall) this might fail and instead you can use

git clone https://github.com/CFDEMproject/LIGGGHTS-PUBLIC.git

to obtain LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. The advantage of using one of these two commands is that you can use

git pull

to easily fetch the latest version of the code when we release a new version. Note that this command needs to be executed in your LIGGGHTS-PUBLIC folder.

If none of the clone commands work you can download the package here without having to use git. Note that git pull will not work in this case, instead you will have to download the full zip file again.

The LIGGGHTS-PUBLIC directory contains two files and several directories:

README text file
LICENSE the GNU General Public License (GPL)
doc documentation
examples simple test problems
lib libraries LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can be linked with
python Python wrapper on LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a library
src source files


This section has the following sub-sections:

2.2.1. Read this first:

Building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can be non-trivial. You may need to edit a makefile, there are compiler options to consider, additional libraries can be used (MPI, FFT, JPEG, PNG), LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC packages may be included or excluded, some of these packages use auxiliary libraries which need to be pre-built, etc.

Please read this section carefully. If you are not comfortable with makefiles, or building codes on a Unix platform, or running an MPI job on your machine, please find a local expert to help you. Many compiling, linking, and run problems that users have are often not LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC issues - they are peculiar to the user’s system, compilers, libraries, etc. Such questions are better answered by a local expert.

If you have a build problem that you are convinced is a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC issue (e.g. the compiler complains about a line of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC source code), then please post a question to the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC forum.

If you succeed in building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC on a new kind of machine, for which there isn’t a similar Makefile for in the src/MAKE directory, send it to the developers and we can include it in the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC distribution. In particular, we are interested in cases where Makefile.auto does not work, so that we can improve its performance.

2.2.2. Steps to build a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC executable:

With LIGGGHTS version 3.5.1 we have rolled out a all new and magic Makefile.auto which hopefully will make building LIGGGHTS as simple as possible. If the following steps do not work for you please see the advanced building description here.

Before attempting a build ensure that your system has all required prerequisites installed. A solid basis for several popular operating systems are listed below:

Ubuntu 16.04LTS:
  sudo apt-get install openmpi-bin libopenmpi-dev libvtk6.2 libvtk6-dev
Ubuntu 17.10:
  sudo apt-get install openmpi-bin libopenmpi-dev libvtk6.3 libvtk6-dev
Fedora 25:
  su -
  dnf install openmpi openmpi-devel paraview-openmpi paraview-openmpi-devel gcc-c++
  echo "export PATH=$PATH:/usr/lib64/openmpi/bin" >> ~/.bashrc
  echo "export LIBRARY_PATH=$LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/lib64/openmpi/lib:/usr/lib64/openmpi/lib/paraview" >> ~/.bashrc
  echo "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/lib64/openmpi/lib:/usr/lib64/openmpi/lib/paraview" >> ~/.bashrc
  echo "export C_INCLUDE_PATH=$C_INCLUDE_PATH:/usr/lib64/openmpi/include/paraview" >> ~/.bashrc
  echo "export CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH=$CPLUS_INCLUDE_PATH:/usr/lib64/openmpi/include/paraview" >> ~/.bashrc

Step 0

The src directory contains the C++ source and header files for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. It also contains a top-level Makefile and a MAKE sub-directory with several Makefile.* files for many machines. From within the src directory, type “make” or “gmake”. You should see a list of available choices. Of particular interest is the auto option, as it should do all the heavy lifting for us. So start by typing

make auto

into the command line. If you are running this for the first time you will see the following message:

>>> WARNING <<<
Created MAKE/Makefile.user for the first time. Please check that the options
in that file are set correctly and run make again.

That is perfectly normal as MAKE/Makefile.user does not exist by default and contains some default options. The compilation will continue and if you are lucky enough it will actually produce an executable called lmp_auto in your src/ folder. If this is the case you are done and can move on to Running LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC

Should the compilation interupt please carefully study the error message. The following procedure will explain how to set compilation variables for make auto.

Step 1

To configure these options open MAKE/Makefile.user with your favourite text editor. There are two sections in this file. The first one specifies which options and features in LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC you would like to activate. The first three lines are related to MPI and read:

# MPI: "ON" or "OFF"
# Description: Use the message passing interface for parallel execution

The first, commented line indicates that either “ON” or “OFF” are valid parameters of the variable called USE_MPI. A short description of the option follows and the last line actually sets the option to “ON”. The default MAKE/Makefile.user comes with some sensibly set defaults. So you might not need to change anything at all.

The second part of this file is by default all commented out and deals with user and machine specific paths. Say that USE_VTK is set to “ON” and your VTK installation is not in your /usr path, but in /home/liggghts/vtk. In that case have a look at the following lines:

# VTK specific variables
# Path that contains the includes (vtkVersion.h)
# Path that contains the VTK libraries
# Additional VTK libraries to include

In this case you would want to change VTK_INC_USR and VTK_LIB_USR so that they become

# VTK specific variables
# Path that contains the includes (vtkVersion.h)
# Path that contains the VTK libraries
# Additional VTK libraries to include

Note that the two lines were uncommented and their values were changed as required. You can also see that include paths (normally containing INC in the variable name) need to be prefixed with -I and library paths (containing LIB) with -L. If you have non-standard paths, this can be a bit tricky to set up, so if you need any help ask a local expert that knows the setup of your machine.


If you set a _USR variable, such as VTK_INC_USR and its corresponding non-_USR variable (VTK_INC in our example) is set. Then the first will have no effect, as the non-_USR variable will have precedence.

If you run make auto the Makefile will automatically check if the options you have provided are valid. It will hopefully supply you with helpful error messages in case some options cannot be found.


If you change any options in the first part of your MAKE/Makefile.auto after a first compilation you will be requested to perform a make clean-auto to do a full recompilation of the code.

Step 2

After all options are set to your satisfaction. Simply run

make auto

again to test the options and compile LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. After the compilation is finished you will obtain a executable name lmp_auto and you can continue here.


Should the compilation not work due to some deficiency of the Makefile.auto that cannot be solved by adjusting MAKE/Makefile.user, then continue reading to see how to make a custom Makefile for your machine. If you want to help us, then please send us your finished Makefile via the forums so that we can improve it for future use.

For most users it will be convenient if they are able to run LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC by simply typing liggghts on the command line. To make this possible we need to create a symbolic link. So after the compilation is complete and your lmp_auto executable was created you can run the following command to create a system-wide link:

sudo ln -s lmp_auto /usr/local/bin

Since sudo is not available on all systems (e.g. Fedora) you can alternatively try:

su -c "ln -s lmp_auto /usr/local/bin"


You need administrator access to run the two commands listed above.

Step 3 (Advanced usage)

Makefile.auto accepts up to two variables as additional input which are called debug and postfix. The former variable can be useful when debugging LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC and can be used by typing

make auto debug=ON

The arguments that can be passed to the debug variable are “ON” and “FULL”. This has the same effect as changing the USE_DEBUG variable inside your Makefile.user to “ON” and “FULL”, respectively. I.e. with “ON” a optimized debug version of the code is produced, whereas with “FULL” a unoptimized version of the is compiled. The latter can be quite useful when using a debugger to look at the local variables inside a code fragment.

When using a debug variable the executables will be called either lmp_auto-debug or lmp_auto-fulldebug for “ON” and “FULL”, respectively.


If you want to clean this particular compilation make clean-auto also needs to have debug=ON or debug=FULL appended.

The latter variable postfix can be used by typing

make auto postifx=myString

In this case Makefile.auto will not look for the MAKE/Makefile.user file, but MAKE/Makefile.user_myString. If it does not exist it will clone MAKE/Makefile.user (instead of a default template). The resulting executable will be called lmp_auto_myString (instead of lmp_auto).

The use of the postfix variable should not be required under normal development. It allows advanced developers to have executables with different features enabled or disabled and based upon the default Makefile.user.


If you want to clean this particular compilation make clean-auto also needs to have postfix=myString appended.

All model combination of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC are automatically available starting with version 3.7. However, only a subset of them are compiled in an optimized manner. This might give you performance losses between 5 and 20%. In case you are using a model combination that is not optimized, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will notify you of this. In this case you can create a file called style_contact_model_user.whitelist in your LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC src/ folder and fill it with entries such as


After creating or modifying such a file with the appropriate entries you will need to recompile LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC and this time it will be built with optimized model combinations specified in this file.

In addition you can automatically scan files or folders recursively for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC input scripts and search them for their used contact model. With this list an addition to the whitelist is automatically created. Running the following commands within the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC src directory

./genAutoExamplesWhitelist.sh -h
./genAutoExamplesWhitelist.sh ../examples

The first will display the help message for genAutoExamplesWhitelist.sh. The second will recursively search the examples folder of your LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC installation and scan all in.* files for the used contact models. It will also create the file style_contact_model_autoExamples.whitelist containing the unique used models in the whitelist format.

A third whitelist is automatically created during the compilation and is stored in style_contact_model.whitelist . If this file exists, the next compilation will NOT change this file. You can manually delete it and recreate it with

sh Make.sh models
sh Make.sh models_full

During every compilation the three whitelist files style_contact_model_user.whitelist , style_contact_model_autoExamples.whitelist and style_contact_model.whitelist are automatically merged and only unique entries are kept in the merged file.

2.2.3. Advanced building using custom makefiles

Step 0

The src directory contains the C++ source and header files for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. It also contains a top-level Makefile and a MAKE sub-directory with low-level Makefile.* files for a few selected platforms. From within the src directory, type “make” or “gmake”. You should see a list of available choices. If one of those is the machine and options you want, you can type a command like:

make mpi
gmake serial

NOTE On a multi-processor or multi-core platform you can launch a parallel make, by using the “-j nprocessors” switch with the make command, which will build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC more quickly.

If you get no errors and an executable like lmp_mpi or lmp_serial is produced, you’re done; it’s your lucky day.

Note that by default only a few of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC optional packages are installed. To build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with optional packages, see this section below.

Step 1

If Step 0 did not work, you will need to create a low-level Makefile for your machine, like Makefile.foo. You should make a copy of an existing src/MAKE/Makefile.* as a starting point. The only portions of the file you need to edit are the first line, the “compiler/linker settings” section, and the “LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC-specific settings” section.


Do not attempt to copy and modify Makefile.auto as this is a rather complex file and should only be modified by experts.

Step 2

Change the first line of src/MAKE/Makefile.foo to list the word “foo” after the “#”, and whatever other options it will set. This is the line you will see if you just type “make”.

Step 3

The “compiler/linker settings” section lists compiler and linker settings for your C++ compiler, including optimization flags. You can use g++, the open-source GNU compiler, which is available on all Unix systems. You can also use mpicc which will typically be available if MPI is installed on your system, though you should check which actual compiler it wraps. Vendor compilers often produce faster code. On boxes with Intel CPUs, we suggest using the commercial Intel icc compiler, which can be downloaded from Intel’s compiler site.

If building a C++ code on your machine requires additional libraries, then you should list them as part of the LIB variable.

The DEPFLAGS setting is what triggers the C++ compiler to create a dependency list for a source file. This speeds re-compilation when source (.cpp) or header (.h) files are edited. Some compilers do not support dependency file creation, or may use a different switch than -D. GNU g++ works with -D. If your compiler can’t create dependency files, then you’ll need to create a Makefile.foo patterned after Makefile.storm, which uses different rules that do not involve dependency files. Note that when you build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC for the first time on a new platform, a long list of *.d files will be printed out rapidly. This is not an error; it is the Makefile doing its normal creation of dependencies.

Step 4

The “system-specific settings” section has several parts. Note that if you change any -D setting in this section, you should do a full re-compile, after typing “make clean” (which will describe different clean options).

The LMP_INC variable is used to include options that turn on ifdefs within the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC code. The options that are currently recogized are:


The read_data and dump commands will read/write gzipped files if you compile with -DLAMMPS_GZIP. It requires that your machine supports the “popen” function in the standard runtime library and that a gzip executable can be found by LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC during a run.

If you use -DLAMMPS_JPEG, the dump image command will be able to write out JPEG image files. For JPEG files, you must also link LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with a JPEG library, as described below. If you use -DLAMMPS_PNG, the dump image command will be able to write out PNG image files. For PNG files, you must also link LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with a PNG library, as described below. If neither of those two defines are used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will only be able to write out uncompressed PPM image files.

If you use -DLAMMPS_FFMPEG, the dump movie command will be available to support on-the-fly generation of rendered movies the need to store intermediate image files. It requires that your machines supports the “popen” function in the standard runtime library and that an FFmpeg executable can be found by LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC during the run.

Using -DLAMMPS_MEMALIGN=<bytes> enables the use of the posix_memalign() call instead of malloc() when large chunks or memory are allocated by LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. This can help to make more efficient use of vector instructions of modern CPUS, since dynamically allocated memory has to be aligned on larger than default byte boundaries (e.g. 16 bytes instead of 8 bytes on x86 type platforms) for optimal performance.

If you use -DLAMMPS_XDR, the build will include XDR compatibility files for doing particle dumps in XTC format. This is only necessary if your platform does have its own XDR files available. See the Restrictions section of the dump command for details.

Use at most one of the -DLAMMPS_SMALLBIG, -DLAMMPS_BIGBIG, -D-DLAMMPS_SMALLSMALL settings. The default is -DLAMMPS_SMALLBIG. These settings refer to use of 4-byte (small) vs 8-byte (big) integers within LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, as specified in src/lmptype.h. The only reason to use the BIGBIG setting is to enable simulation of huge molecular systems with more than 2 billion atoms or to allow moving atoms to wrap back through a periodic box more than 512 times. The only reason to use the SMALLSMALL setting is if your machine does not support 64-bit integers. See the Additional build tips section below for more details.

The -DLAMMPS_LONGLONG_TO_LONG setting may be needed if your system or MPI version does not recognize “long long” data types. In this case a “long” data type is likely already 64-bits, in which case this setting will convert to that data type.

Using one of the -DPACK_ARRAY, -DPACK_POINTER, and -DPACK_MEMCPY options can make for faster parallel FFTs (in the PPPM solver) on some platforms. The -DPACK_ARRAY setting is the default. See the kspace_style command for info about PPPM. See Step 6 below for info about building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with an FFT library.

Step 5

The 3 MPI variables are used to specify an MPI library to build LAMMPS with.

If you want LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to run in parallel, you must have an MPI library installed on your platform. If you use an MPI-wrapped compiler, such as “mpicc” to build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, you should be able to leave these 3 variables blank; the MPI wrapper knows where to find the needed files. If not, and MPI is installed on your system in the usual place (under /usr/local), you also may not need to specify these 3 variables. On some large parallel machines which use “modules” for their compile/link environements, you may simply need to include the correct module in your build environment. Or the parallel machine may have a vendor-provided MPI which the compiler has no trouble finding.

Failing this, with these 3 variables you can specify where the mpi.h file (MPI_INC) and the MPI library file (MPI_PATH) are found and the name of the library file (MPI_LIB).

If you are installing MPI yourself, we recommend Argonne’s MPICH2 or OpenMPI. MPICH can be downloaded from the Argonne MPI site. OpenMPI can be downloaded from the OpenMPI site. Other MPI packages should also work. If you are running on a big parallel platform, your system people or the vendor should have already installed a version of MPI, which is likely to be faster than a self-installed MPICH or OpenMPI, so find out how to build and link with it. If you use MPICH or OpenMPI, you will have to configure and build it for your platform. The MPI configure script should have compiler options to enable you to use the same compiler you are using for the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC build, which can avoid problems that can arise when linking LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to the MPI library.

If you just want to run LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC on a single processor, you can use the dummy MPI library provided in src/STUBS, since you don’t need a true MPI library installed on your system. See the src/MAKE/Makefile.serial file for how to specify the 3 MPI variables in this case. You will also need to build the STUBS library for your platform before making LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC itself. To build from the src directory, type “make stubs”, or from the STUBS dir, type “make”. This should create a libmpi_stubs.a file suitable for linking to LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. If the build fails, you will need to edit the STUBS/Makefile for your platform.

The file STUBS/mpi.c provides a CPU timer function called MPI_Wtime() that calls gettimeofday() . If your system doesn’t support gettimeofday() , you’ll need to insert code to call another timer. Note that the ANSI-standard function clock() rolls over after an hour or so, and is therefore insufficient for timing long LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC simulations.

Step 6

The 3 FFT variables allow you to specify an FFT library which LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC uses (for performing 1d FFTs) when running the particle-particle particle-mesh (PPPM) option for long-range Coulombics via the kspace_style command.

LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC supports various open-source or vendor-supplied FFT libraries for this purpose. If you leave these 3 variables blank, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will use the open-source KISS FFT library, which is included in the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC distribution. This library is portable to all platforms and for typical LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC simulations is almost as fast as FFTW or vendor optimized libraries. If you are not including the KSPACE package in your build, you can also leave the 3 variables blank.

Otherwise, select which kinds of FFTs to use as part of the FFT_INC setting by a switch of the form -DFFT_XXX. Recommended values for XXX are: MKL, SCSL, FFTW2, and FFTW3. Legacy options are: INTEL, SGI, ACML, and T3E. For backward compatability, using -DFFT_FFTW will use the FFTW2 library. Using -DFFT_NONE will use the KISS library described above.

You may also need to set the FFT_INC, FFT_PATH, and FFT_LIB variables, so the compiler and linker can find the needed FFT header and library files. Note that on some large parallel machines which use “modules” for their compile/link environements, you may simply need to include the correct module in your build environment. Or the parallel machine may have a vendor-provided FFT library which the compiler has no trouble finding.

FFTW is a fast, portable library that should also work on any platform. You can download it from www.fftw.org. Both the legacy version 2.1.X and the newer 3.X versions are supported as -DFFT_FFTW2 or -DFFT_FFTW3. Building FFTW for your box should be as simple as ./configure; make. Note that on some platforms FFTW2 has been pre-installed, and uses renamed files indicating the precision it was compiled with, e.g. sfftw.h, or dfftw.h instead of fftw.h. In this case, you can specify an additional define variable for FFT_INC called -DFFTW_SIZE, which will select the correct include file. In this case, for FFT_LIB you must also manually specify the correct library, namely -lsfftw or -ldfftw.

The FFT_INC variable also allows for a -DFFT_SINGLE setting that will use single-precision FFTs with PPPM, which can speed-up long-range calulations, particularly in parallel or on GPUs. Fourier transform and related PPPM operations are somewhat insensitive to floating point truncation errors and thus do not always need to be performed in double precision. Using the -DFFT_SINGLE setting trades off a little accuracy for reduced memory use and parallel communication costs for transposing 3d FFT data. Note that single precision FFTs have only been tested with the FFTW3, FFTW2, MKL, and KISS FFT options.

Step 7

The 3 JPG variables allow you to specify a JPEG and/or PNG library which LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC uses when writing out JPEG or PNG files via the dump image command. These can be left blank if you do not use the -DLAMMPS_JPEG or -DLAMMPS_PNG switches discussed above in Step 4, since in that case JPEG/PNG output will be disabled.

A standard JPEG library usually goes by the name libjpeg.a or libjpeg.so and has an associated header file jpeglib.h. Whichever JPEG library you have on your platform, you’ll need to set the appropriate JPG_INC, JPG_PATH, and JPG_LIB variables, so that the compiler and linker can find it.

A standard PNG library usually goes by the name libpng.a or libpng.so and has an associated header file png.h. Whichever PNG library you have on your platform, you’ll need to set the appropriate JPG_INC, JPG_PATH, and JPG_LIB variables, so that the compiler and linker can find it.

As before, if these header and library files are in the usual place on your machine, you may not need to set these variables.

Step 8

Note that by default only a few of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC optional packages are installed. To build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with optional packages, see this section below, before proceeding to Step 9.

Step 9

That’s it. Once you have a correct Makefile.foo, you have installed the optional LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC packages you want to include in your build, and you have pre-built any other needed libraries (e.g. MPI, FFT, package libraries), all you need to do from the src directory is type something like this:

make foo
gmake foo

You should get the executable lmp_foo when the build is complete.

2.2.4. Errors that can occur when making LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC:


If an error occurs when building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, the compiler or linker will state very explicitly what the problem is. The error message should give you a hint as to which of the steps above has failed, and what you need to do in order to fix it. Building a code with a Makefile is a very logical process. The compiler and linker need to find the appropriate files and those files need to be compatible with LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC source files. When a make fails, there is usually a very simple reason, which you or a local expert will need to fix.

Here are two non-obvious errors that can occur:

(1) If the make command breaks immediately with errors that indicate it can’t find files with a “*” in their names, this can be because your machine’s native make doesn’t support wildcard expansion in a makefile. Try gmake instead of make. If that doesn’t work, try using a -f switch with your make command to use a pre-generated Makefile.list which explicitly lists all the needed files, e.g.

make makelist
make -f Makefile.list linux
gmake -f Makefile.list mac

The first “make” command will create a current Makefile.list with all the file names in your src dir. The 2nd “make” command (make or gmake) will use it to build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. Note that you should include/exclude any desired optional packages before using the “make makelist” command.

(2) If you get an error that says something like ‘identifier “atoll” is undefined’, then your machine does not support “long long” integers. Try using the -DLAMMPS_LONGLONG_TO_LONG setting described above in Step 4.

2.2.5. Additional build tips:

  1. Building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC for multiple platforms.

You can make LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC for multiple platforms from the same src directory. Each target creates its own object sub-directory called Obj_target where it stores the system-specific *.o files.

  1. Cleaning up.

Typing “make clean-all” or “make clean-machine” will delete *.o object files created when LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is built, for either all builds or for a particular machine.


As explained above, any of these 3 settings can be specified on the LMP_INC line in your low-level src/MAKE/Makefile.foo.

The default is -DLAMMPS_SMALLBIG which allows for systems with up to 2^63 atoms and timesteps (about 9 billion billion). The atom limit is for atomic systems that do not require atom IDs. For molecular models, which require atom IDs, the limit is 2^31 atoms (about 2 billion). With this setting, image flags are stored in 32-bit integers, which means for 3 dimensions that atoms can only wrap around a periodic box at most 512 times. If atoms move through the periodic box more than this limit, the image flags will “roll over”, e.g. from 511 to -512, which can cause diagnostics like the mean-squared displacement, as calculated by the compute msd command, to be faulty.

To allow for larger molecular systems or larger image flags, compile with -DLAMMPS_BIGBIG. This enables molecular systems with up to 2^63 atoms (about 9 billion billion). And image flags will not “roll over” until they reach 2^20 = 1048576.


As of 6/2012, the BIGBIG setting does not yet enable molecular systems to grow as large as 2^63. Only the image flag roll over is currently affected by this compile option.

If your system does not support 8-byte integers, you will need to compile with the -DLAMMPS_SMALLSMALL setting. This will restrict your total number of atoms (for atomic or molecular models) and timesteps to 2^31 (about 2 billion). Image flags will roll over at 2^9 = 512.

Note that in src/lmptype.h there are also settings for the MPI data types associated with the integers that store atom IDs and total system sizes. These need to be consistent with the associated C data types, or else LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will generate a run-time error.

In all cases, the size of problem that can be run on a per-processor basis is limited by 4-byte integer storage to 2^31 atoms per processor (about 2 billion). This should not normally be a restriction since such a problem would have a huge per-processor memory footprint due to neighbor lists and would run very slowly in terms of CPU secs/timestep.

2.2.6. Building for a Mac:

OS X is BSD Unix, so it should just work. Try using “make auto” or use “make serial” as fallback. This is untested but feel free to give us feedback on cfdem.com

2.2.7. Building for Windows:

The recommened way to do this is using CMake and Visual Studio. Install CMake and launch the associated GUI. Point the Where is your source code: input to your src/ folder and set the build folder to some folder (recommended: make a build folder in your LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC-base directory). Press Configure to get your system settings. You will most likely have to set the VTK_DIR option to the folder in which you built the VTK library. Once this is done press Configure again until all errors are reolved so that you can Generate the project. After that you should be able to press Open Project to open Visual Studio where you can build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC.

The other way to do this is install and use cygwin to build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with a standard Linux make, just as you would on any Linux box. Your cygwin environment will need several packages such as cmake, g++, gcc, openmpi, make. Note that when compiling VTK you need to disable all rendering related VTK options as OpenGL won’t be available. Note that this is an option that should only be used by advanced users.

2.3. Making LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with optional packages

This section has the following sub-sections:

Package basics:

The source code for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is structured as a set of core files which are always included, plus optional packages. Packages are groups of files that enable a specific set of features. For example, force fields for molecular systems or granular systems are in packages. You can see the list of all packages by typing “make package” from within the src directory of the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC distribution.

If you use a command in a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC input script that is specific to a particular package, you must have built LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with that package, else you will get an error that the style is invalid or the command is unknown. Every command’s doc page specfies if it is part of a package. You can also type

lmp_machine -h

to run your executable with the optional -h command-line switch for “help”, which will list the styles and commands known to your executable.

There are two kinds of packages in LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, standard and user packages. More information about the contents of standard and user packages is given in Section_packages of the manual. The difference between standard and user packages is as follows:

Standard packages are supported by the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC developers and are written in a syntax and style consistent with the rest of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. This means we will answer questions about them, debug and fix them if necessary, and keep them compatible with future changes to LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC.

User packages have been contributed by users, and always begin with the user prefix. If they are a single command (single file), they are typically in the user-misc package. Otherwise, they are a a set of files grouped together which add a specific functionality to the code.

Some packages (both standard and user) require additional libraries. See more details below.

Including/excluding packages:

To use or not use a package you must include or exclude it before building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC. From the src directory, this is typically as simple as:

make yes-package-name
make g++


make no-package-name
make g++


You should NOT include/exclude packages and build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC in a single make command by using multiple targets, e.g. make yes-colloid g++. This is because the make procedure creates a list of source files that will be out-of-date for the build if the package configuration changes during the same command.

Some packages have individual files that depend on other packages being included. LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC checks for this and does the right thing. I.e. individual files are only included if their dependencies are already included. Likewise, if a package is excluded, other files dependent on that package are also excluded.

The reason to exclude packages is if you will never run certain kinds of simulations. For some packages, this will keep you from having to build auxiliary libraries (see below), and will also produce a smaller executable which may run a bit faster.

When you download a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC tarball, these packages are pre-installed in the src directory: KSPACE, MANYBODY,MOLECULE. When you download LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC source files from the SVN or Git repositories, no packages are pre-installed.

Packages are included or excluded by typing “make yes-name” or “make no-name”, where “name” is the name of the package in lower-case. You can also type “make yes-all” or “make no-all” to include/exclude various sets of packages. Type “make package” to see the all of the package-related make options.


Inclusion/exclusion of a package works by simply moving files back and forth between the main src directory and sub-directories with the package name. After you have included or excluded a package, you must re-build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC.

Additional package-related make options exist to help manage LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC files that exist in both the src directory and in package sub-directories. You do not normally need to use these commands unless you are editing LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC files or have downloaded a patch from the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC WWW site.

Typing “make package-update” will overwrite src files with files from the package sub-directories if the package has been included. It should be used after a patch is installed, since patches only update the files in the package sub-directory, but not the src files. Typing “make package-overwrite” will overwrite files in the package sub-directories with src files.

Typing “make package-status” will show which packages are currently included. Of those that are included, it will list files that are different in the src directory and package sub-directory. Typing “make package-diff” lists all differences between these files. Again, type “make package” to see all of the package-related make options.

Packages that require extra libraries:

A few of the standard and user packages require additional auxiliary libraries. They must be compiled first, before LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is built. If you get a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC build error about a missing library, this is likely the reason. See the Section_packages doc page for a list of packages that have auxiliary libraries.

Code for some of these auxiliary libraries is included in the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC distribution under the lib directory. Some auxiliary libraries are not included with LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC; to use the associated package you must download and install the auxiliary library yourself. Example is the VORONOI packages.

For libraries with provided source code, each lib directory has a README file (e.g. lib/reax/README) with instructions on how to build that library. Typically this is done by typing something like:

make -f Makefile.g++

If one of the provided Makefiles is not appropriate for your system you will need to edit or add one. Note that all the Makefiles have a setting for EXTRAMAKE at the top that names a Makefile.lammps.* file.

If successful, this will produce 2 files in the lib directory:


The Makefile.lammps file is a copy of the EXTRAMAKE file specified in the Makefile you used.

You MUST insure that the settings in Makefile.lammps are appropriate for your system. If they are not, the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC build will fail.

As explained in the lib/package/README files, they are used to specify additional system libraries and their locations so that LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can build with the auxiliary library. For example, if the MEAM or REAX packages are used, the auxiliary libraries consist of F90 code, build with a F90 complier. To link that library with LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC (a C++ code) via whatever C++ compiler LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is built with, typically requires additional Fortran-to-C libraries be included in the link. Another example are the BLAS and LAPACK libraries needed to use the USER-ATC or USER-AWPMD packages.

For libraries without provided source code, see the src/package/Makefile.lammps file for information on where to find the library and how to build it. E.g. the file src/KIM/Makefile.lammps. This file serves the same purpose as the lib/package/Makefile.lammps file described above. It has settings needed when LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is built to link with the auxiliary library. Again, you MUST insure that the settings in src/package/Makefile.lammps are appropriate for your system and where you installed the auxiliary library. If they are not, the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC build will fail.

2.4. Building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC via the Make.py script

The src directory includes a Make.py script, written in Python, which can be used to automate various steps of the build process.

You can run the script from the src directory by typing either:

python Make.py

which will give you info about the tool. For the former to work, you may need to edit the 1st line of the script to point to your local Python. And you may need to insure the script is executable:

chmod +x Make.py

The following options are supported as switches:

  • -i file1 file2 ...
  • -p package1 package2 ...
  • -u package1 package2 ...
  • -e package1 arg1 arg2 package2 ...
  • -o dir
  • -b machine
  • -s suffix1 suffix2 ...
  • -l dir
  • -j N
  • -h switch1 switch2 ...

Help on any switch can be listed by using -h, e.g.

Make.py -h -i -p

At a hi-level, these are the kinds of package management and build tasks that can be performed easily, using the Make.py tool:

  • install/uninstall packages and build the associated external libs (use -p and -u and -e)
  • install packages needed for one or more input scripts (use -i and -p)
  • build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, either in the src dir or new dir (use -b)
  • create a new dir with only the source code needed for one or more input scripts (use -i and -o)

The last bullet can be useful when you wish to build a stripped-down version of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to run a specific script(s). Or when you wish to move the minimal amount of files to another platform for a remote LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC build.

Note that using Make.py is not a substitute for insuring you have a valid src/MAKE/Makefile.foo for your system, or that external library Makefiles in any lib/* directories you use are also valid for your system. But once you have done that, you can use Make.py to quickly include/exclude the packages and external libraries needed by your input scripts.

2.5. Building LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a library

LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can be built as either a static or shared library, which can then be called from another application or a scripting language. See this section for more info on coupling LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to other codes. See this section for more info on wrapping and running LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC from Python.

2.5.1. Static library:

To build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a static library (*.a file on Linux), type

make makelib
make -f Makefile.lib foo

where foo is the machine name (if you normally compile with auto then use this option). This kind of library is typically used to statically link a driver application to LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, so that you can insure all dependencies are satisfied at compile time. Note that inclusion or exclusion of any desired optional packages should be done before typing “make makelib”. The first “make” command will create a current Makefile.lib with all the file names in your src dir. The second “make” command will use it to build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a static library, using the ARCHIVE and ARFLAGS settings in src/MAKE/Makefile.foo. The build will create the file liblammps_foo.a which another application can link to.

2.5.2. Shared library:

To build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a shared library (*.so file on Linux), which can be dynamically loaded, e.g. from Python, type

make makeshlib
make -f Makefile.shlib foo

where foo is the machine name (if you normally compile with auto then use this option). This kind of library is required when wrapping LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC with Python; see Section_python for details. Again, note that inclusion or exclusion of any desired optional packages should be done before typing “make makelib”. The first “make” command will create a current Makefile.shlib with all the file names in your src dir. The second “make” command will use it to build LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a shared library, using the SHFLAGS and SHLIBFLAGS settings in src/MAKE/Makefile.foo. The build will create the file liblammps_foo.so which another application can link to dyamically. It will also create a soft link liblammps.so, which the Python wrapper uses by default.

Note that for a shared library to be usable by a calling program, all the auxiliary libraries it depends on must also exist as shared libraries. This will be the case for libraries included with LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, such as the dummy MPI library in src/STUBS or any package libraries in lib/packges, since they are always built as shared libraries with the -fPIC switch. However, if a library like MPI or FFTW does not exist as a shared library, the second make command will generate an error. This means you will need to install a shared library version of the package. The build instructions for the library should tell you how to do this.

As an example, here is how to build and install the MPICH library, a popular open-source version of MPI, distributed by Argonne National Labs, as a shared library in the default /usr/local/lib location:

./configure --enable-shared
make install

You may need to use “sudo make install” in place of the last line if you do not have write privileges for /usr/local/lib. The end result should be the file /usr/local/lib/libmpich.so.

2.5.3. Additional requirement for using a shared library:

The operating system finds shared libraries to load at run-time using the environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH. So you may wish to copy the file src/liblammps.so or src/liblammps_g++.so (for example) to a place the system can find it by default, such as /usr/local/lib, or you may wish to add the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC src directory to LD_LIBRARY_PATH, so that the current version of the shared library is always available to programs that use it.

For the csh or tcsh shells, you would add something like this to your ~/.cshrc file:

setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH $*LD_LIBRARY_PATH*:/home/sjplimp/lammps/src

2.5.4. Calling the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC library:

Either flavor of library (static or shared0 allows one or more LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC objects to be instantiated from the calling program.

When used from a C++ program, all of LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is wrapped in a LAMMPS_NS namespace; you can safely use any of its classes and methods from within the calling code, as needed.

When used from a C or Fortran program or a scripting language like Python, the library has a simple function-style interface, provided in src/library.cpp and src/library.h.

See the sample codes in examples/COUPLE/simple for examples of C++ and C and Fortran codes that invoke LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC thru its library interface. There are other examples as well in the COUPLE directory which are discussed in Section_howto 10 of the manual. See Section_python of the manual for a description of the Python wrapper provided with LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC that operates through the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC library interface.

The files src/library.cpp and library.h define the C-style API for using LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC as a library. See Section_howto 19 of the manual for a description of the interface and how to extend it for your needs.


By default, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC runs by reading commands from stdin; e.g. lmp_auto < in.file. This means you first create an input script (e.g. in.file) containing the desired commands. This section describes how input scripts are structured and what commands they contain.

You can test LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC on any of the sample inputs provided in the examples or bench directory. Input scripts are named in.* and sample outputs are named log.*.name.P where name is a machine and P is the number of processors it was run on.

Here is how you might run a standard chute wear benchmark on a Linux box, using mpirun to launch a parallel job:

cd src
make auto
cp lmp_auto ../examples/LIGGGHTS/Tutorials_public/chute_wear
cd ../examples/LIGGGHTS/Tutorials_public/chute_wear
mpirun -np 4 lmp_auto < in.chute_wear

On a Windows box, you can skip making LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC and simply download an executable, as described above, though the pre-packaged executables include only certain packages.

To run a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC executable on a Windows machine, first decide whether you want to download the non-MPI (serial) or the MPI (parallel) version of the executable. Download and save the version you have chosen.

For the non-MPI version, follow these steps:

  • Get a command prompt by going to Start->Run... , then typing “cmd”.
  • Move to the directory where you have saved lmp_win_no-mpi.exe (e.g. by typing: cd “Documents”).
  • At the command prompt, type “lmp_win_no-mpi -in in.lj”, replacing in.lj with the name of your LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC input script.

For the MPI version, which allows you to run LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC under Windows on multiple processors, follow these steps:

  • Download and install MPICH2 for Windows.
  • You’ll need to use the mpiexec.exe and smpd.exe files from the MPICH2 package. Put them in same directory (or path) as the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC Windows executable.
  • Get a command prompt by going to Start->Run... , then typing “cmd”.
  • Move to the directory where you have saved lmp_win_mpi.exe (e.g. by typing: cd “Documents”).
  • Then type something like this: “mpiexec -np 4 -localonly lmp_win_mpi -in in.lj”, replacing in.lj with the name of your LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC input script.
  • Note that you may need to provide smpd with a passphrase — it doesn’t matter what you type.
  • In this mode, output may not immediately show up on the screen, so if your input script takes a long time to execute, you may need to be patient before the output shows up.
  • Alternatively, you can still use this executable to run on a single processor by typing something like: “lmp_win_mpi -in in.lj”.

The screen output from LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is described in the next section. As it runs, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC also writes a log.lammps file with the same information.

Note that this sequence of commands copies the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC executable (lmp_linux) to the directory with the input files. This may not be necessary, but some versions of MPI reset the working directory to where the executable is, rather than leave it as the directory where you launch mpirun from (if you launch lmp_linux on its own and not under mpirun). If that happens, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will look for additional input files and write its output files to the executable directory, rather than your working directory, which is probably not what you want.

If LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC encounters errors in the input script or while running a simulation it will print an ERROR message and stop or a WARNING message and continue. See Section_errors for a discussion of the various kinds of errors LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can or can’t detect, a list of all ERROR and WARNING messages, and what to do about them.

LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can run a problem on any number of processors, including a single processor. In theory you should get identical answers on any number of processors and on any machine. In practice, numerical round-off can cause slight differences and eventual divergence of molecular dynamics phase space trajectories.

LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC can run as large a problem as will fit in the physical memory of one or more processors. If you run out of memory, you must run on more processors or setup a smaller problem.

2.7. Command-line options

At run time, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC recognizes several optional command-line switches which may be used in any order. Either the full word or a one-or-two letter abbreviation can be used:

  • -e or -echo
  • -i or -in
  • -h or -help
  • -l or -log
  • -nc or -nocite
  • -p or -partition
  • -pl or -plog
  • -ps or -pscreen
  • -r or -restart
  • -ro or -reorder
  • -sc or -screen
  • -sf or -suffix
  • -v or -var

For example, lmp_auto might be launched as follows:

mpirun -np 16 lmp_auto -v f tmp.out -l my.log -sc none < in.alloy
mpirun -np 16 lmp_auto -var f tmp.out -log my.log -screen none < in.alloy

Here are the details on the options:

-echo style

Set the style of command echoing. The style can be none or screen or log or both. Depending on the style, each command read from the input script will be echoed to the screen and/or logfile. This can be useful to figure out which line of your script is causing an input error. The default value is log. The echo style can also be set by using the echo command in the input script itself.

-in file

Specify a file to use as an input script. This is an optional switch when running LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC in one-partition mode. If it is not specified, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC reads its input script from stdin - e.g. lmp_auto < in.run. This is a required switch when running LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC in multi-partition mode, since multiple processors cannot all read from stdin.


Print a list of options compiled into this executable for each LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC style (atom_style, fix, compute, pair_style, bond_style, etc). This can help you know if the command you want to use was included via the appropriate package. LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC will print the info and immediately exit if this switch is used.

-log file

Specify a log file for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to write status information to. In one-partition mode, if the switch is not used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC writes to the file log.lammps. If this switch is used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC writes to the specified file. In multi-partition mode, if the switch is not used, a log.lammps file is created with hi-level status information. Each partition also writes to a log.lammps.N file where N is the partition ID. If the switch is specified in multi-partition mode, the hi-level logfile is named “file” and each partition also logs information to a file.N. For both one-partition and multi-partition mode, if the specified file is “none”, then no log files are created. Using a log command in the input script will override this setting. Option -plog will override the name of the partition log files file.N.


Disable writing the log.cite file which is normally written to list references for specific cite-able features used during a LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC run. See the citation page for more details.

-partition 8x2 4 5 ...

Invoke LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC in multi-partition mode. When LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC is run on P processors and this switch is not used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC runs in one partition, i.e. all P processors run a single simulation. If this switch is used, the P processors are split into separate partitions and each partition runs its own simulation. The arguments to the switch specify the number of processors in each partition. Arguments of the form MxN mean M partitions, each with N processors. Arguments of the form N mean a single partition with N processors. The sum of processors in all partitions must equal P. Thus the command “-partition 8x2 4 5” has 10 partitions and runs on a total of 25 processors.

To run multiple independent simulatoins from one input script, using multiple partitions, see Section_howto 4 of the manual. World- and universe-style variables are useful in this context.

-plog file

Specify the base name for the partition log files, so partition N writes log information to file.N. If file is none, then no partition log files are created. This overrides the filename specified in the -log command-line option. This option is useful when working with large numbers of partitions, allowing the partition log files to be suppressed (-plog none) or placed in a sub-directory (-plog replica_files/log.lammps) If this option is not used the log file for partition N is log.lammps.N or whatever is specified by the -log command-line option.

-pscreen file

Specify the base name for the partition screen file, so partition N writes screen information to file.N. If file is none, then no partition screen files are created. This overrides the filename specified in the -screen command-line option. This option is useful when working with large numbers of partitions, allowing the partition screen files to be suppressed (-pscreen none) or placed in a sub-directory (-pscreen replica_files/screen). If this option is not used the screen file for partition N is screen.N or whatever is specified by the -screen command-line option.

-restart restartfile datafile

Convert the restart file into a data file and immediately exit. This is the same operation as if the following 2-line input script were run:

read_restart restartfile
write_data datafile

Note that the specified restartfile and datafile can have wild-card characters (“*”,%”) as described by the read_restart and write_data commands. But a filename such as file.* will need to be enclosed in quotes to avoid shell expansion of the “*” character.

-reorder nth N
-reorder custom filename

Reorder the processors in the MPI communicator used to instantiate LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC, in one of several ways. The original MPI communicator ranks all P processors from 0 to P-1. The mapping of these ranks to physical processors is done by MPI before LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC begins. It may be useful in some cases to alter the rank order. E.g. to insure that cores within each node are ranked in a desired order. Or when using the run_style verlet/split command with 2 partitions to insure that a specific Kspace processor (in the 2nd partition) is matched up with a specific set of processors in the 1st partition. See the Section_accelerate doc pages for more details.

If the keyword nth is used with a setting N, then it means every Nth processor will be moved to the end of the ranking. This is useful when using the run_style verlet/split command with 2 partitions via the -partition command-line switch. The first set of processors will be in the first partition, the 2nd set in the 2nd partition. The -reorder command-line switch can alter this so that the 1st N procs in the 1st partition and one proc in the 2nd partition will be ordered consecutively, e.g. as the cores on one physical node. This can boost performance. For example, if you use “-reorder nth 4” and “-partition 9 3” and you are running on 12 processors, the processors will be reordered from

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


0 1 2 4 5 6 8 9 10 3 7 11

so that the processors in each partition will be

0 1 2 4 5 6 8 9 10
3 7 11

See the “processors” command for how to insure processors from each partition could then be grouped optimally for quad-core nodes.

If the keyword is custom, then a file that specifies a permutation of the processor ranks is also specified. The format of the reorder file is as follows. Any number of initial blank or comment lines (starting with a “#” character) can be present. These should be followed by P lines of the form:


where P is the number of processors LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC was launched with. Note that if running in multi-partition mode (see the -partition switch above) P is the total number of processors in all partitions. The I and J values describe a permutation of the P processors. Every I and J should be values from 0 to P-1 inclusive. In the set of P I values, every proc ID should appear exactly once. Ditto for the set of P J values. A single I,J pairing means that the physical processor with rank I in the original MPI communicator will have rank J in the reordered communicator.

Note that rank ordering can also be specified by many MPI implementations, either by environment variables that specify how to order physical processors, or by config files that specify what physical processors to assign to each MPI rank. The -reorder switch simply gives you a portable way to do this without relying on MPI itself. See the processors out command for how to output info on the final assignment of physical processors to the LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC simulation domain.

-screen file

Specify a file for LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC to write its screen information to. In one-partition mode, if the switch is not used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC writes to the screen. If this switch is used, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC writes to the specified file instead and you will see no screen output. In multi-partition mode, if the switch is not used, hi-level status information is written to the screen. Each partition also writes to a screen.N file where N is the partition ID. If the switch is specified in multi-partition mode, the hi-level screen dump is named “file” and each partition also writes screen information to a file.N. For both one-partition and multi-partition mode, if the specified file is “none”, then no screen output is performed. Option -pscreen will override the name of the partition screen files file.N.

-var name value1 value2 ...

Specify a variable that will be defined for substitution purposes when the input script is read. “Name” is the variable name which can be a single character (referenced as $x in the input script) or a full string (referenced as ${abc}). An index-style variable will be created and populated with the subsequent values, e.g. a set of filenames. Using this command-line option is equivalent to putting the line “variable name index value1 value2 ...” at the beginning of the input script. Defining an index variable as a command-line argument overrides any setting for the same index variable in the input script, since index variables cannot be re-defined. See the variable command for more info on defining index and other kinds of variables and this section for more info on using variables in input scripts.


Currently, the command-line parser looks for arguments that start with “-” to indicate new switches. Thus you cannot specify multiple variable values if any of they start with a “-”, e.g. a negative numeric value. It is OK if the first value1 starts with a “-”, since it is automatically skipped.

2.8. LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC screen output

As LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC reads an input script, it prints information to both the screen and a log file about significant actions it takes to setup a simulation. When the simulation is ready to begin, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC performs various initializations and prints the amount of memory (in MBytes per processor) that the simulation requires. It also prints details of the initial thermodynamic state of the system. During the run itself, thermodynamic information is printed periodically, every few timesteps. When the run concludes, LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC prints the final thermodynamic state and a total run time for the simulation. It then appends statistics about the CPU time and storage requirements for the simulation. An example set of statistics is shown here:

Loop time of 49.002 on 2 procs for 2004 atoms
Pair   time (%) = 35.0495 (71.5267)
Bond   time (%) = 0.092046 (0.187841)
Kspce  time (%) = 6.42073 (13.103)
Neigh  time (%) = 2.73485 (5.5811)
Comm   time (%) = 1.50291 (3.06703)
Outpt  time (%) = 0.013799 (0.0281601)
Other  time (%) = 2.13669 (4.36041)
Nlocal:    1002 ave, 1015 max, 989 min
Histogram: 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Nghost:    8720 ave, 8724 max, 8716 min
Histogram: 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Neighs:    354141 ave, 361422 max, 346860 min
Histogram: 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total # of neighbors = 708282
Ave neighs/atom = 353.434
Ave special neighs/atom = 2.34032
Number of reneighborings = 42
Dangerous reneighborings = 2

The first section gives the breakdown of the CPU run time (in seconds) into major categories. The second section lists the number of owned atoms (Nlocal), ghost atoms (Nghost), and pair-wise neighbors stored per processor. The max and min values give the spread of these values across processors with a 10-bin histogram showing the distribution. The total number of histogram counts is equal to the number of processors.

The last section gives aggregate statistics for pair-wise neighbors and special neighbors that LIGGGHTS(R)-PUBLIC keeps track of (see the special_bonds command). The number of times neighbor lists were rebuilt during the run is given as well as the number of potentially “dangerous” rebuilds. If atom movement triggered neighbor list rebuilding (see the neigh_modify command), then dangerous reneighborings are those that were triggered on the first timestep atom movement was checked for. If this count is non-zero you may wish to reduce the delay factor to insure no force interactions are missed by atoms moving beyond the neighbor skin distance before a rebuild takes place.

The first line lists the initial and final energy, as well as the energy on the next-to-last iteration. The next 2 lines give a measure of the gradient of the energy (force on all atoms). The 2-norm is the “length” of this force vector; the inf-norm is the largest component. The last 2 lines are statistics on how many iterations and force-evaluations the minimizer required. Multiple force evaluations are typically done at each iteration to perform a 1d line minimization in the search direction.