Often a software package has a “quick installation guide” which allows the software to be installed with a handful of generic lines (at least for the serial mode). Unfortunately due to dependencies, we have not been able to work out a simple solution for PEXSI. We are very conscious about this and would like to find a better solution in the future. For now please be patient and go through the following steps..


PEXSI requires an external parallel \(LU\) factorization or \(LDL^T\) factorization routine (default is SuperLU_DIST), and an external parallel matrix reordering routine (default is ParMETIS) to reduce the fill-in of the factorization routine. These packages need to be downloaded and installed separately, before building the PEXSI package.

The installation procedure and dependencies of every version of the PEXSI package may be slightly different. Please follow the documentation of the version of the PEXSI package you are working with. (provided in the Download Page )

Although the standard makefile system is supported, starting from v2.0, we recommend the usage of the CMake system.

Build ParMETIS

Download ParMETIS (latest version 4.0.3) from


ParMETIS has its own (slightly non-standard) CMake system. Be sure to follow Install.txt and BUILD.txt after untaring the file.

We provide an example bash script for building ParMETIS (see

Build SuperLU_DIST

Download SuperLU_DIST (latest version 7.2.0) from


We provide an example bash script for building SuperLU_DIST (see


When the number of processors for symbolic factorization cannot be too large when PARMETIS is used together with SuperLU. The exact number of processors for symbolic factorization is unfortunately sometimes a magic parameter. See FAQ page.


The recommended method to build PEXSI is to use CMake. You may also use the old makefile system.


PEXSI requires CMake version 3.17+** (latest CMake can be downloaded at

CMake is a meta-build system provided by Kitware. In essence, the purpose of the CMake build system is to generate Makefiles which are customized to the user’s particular build environment. Generally, CMake operates by taking information provided by the user in the form of CMake variables to notify the build generator of things such as the location of dependency installations, the enablement/disablement of software features, etc. In practice, this process generally takes the form

cmake -H<TOP SOURCE DIR> -B<BINARY DIR> -D<VAR1>=<VAL1> -D<VAR2>=<VAL2> ...

The project may then be compiled via

make -C <BINARY DIR>

The following is a table of CMake variables which are influencial to the PEXSI project

PEXSI CMake Variables
Variable Name Description Possible Values (Default)
CMAKE_<Lang>_COMPILER The <Lang> (C/CXX/Fortran) Compiler (System Default)
CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE Build type Release/Debug/RelWithDebInfo (Release)
PEXSI_DEBUG_LEVEL Level of PEXSI Debug print (Debug only) 1-3 (1)
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX PEXSI Installation path (None)
CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH Common installation prefix of dependencies (None)

PEXSI Also allows for the manualy specification of dependency locations as either a prefix path or as a full linker

PEXSI Dependency Variables
Variable Name Description Possible Values (Default)
<DEP>_PREFIX Installation prefix of <DEP> (None)
<DEP>_LIBRARIES A full linker for <DEP> (None)
<DEP>_INCLUDE_DIR Location of <DEP> header files (None)

Here, <DEP> is one of SuperLU_DIST, METIS, ParMETIS, BLAS, or LAPACK. Note that the (PT-)SCOTCH and symPACK build paths are not supported through the build system at this time.


When specifying <DEP>_LIBRARIES, the value must be a full linker, i.e. all of the libraries required to link to said dependency. e.g.

SuperLU_LIBRARIES="-lsuperlu_dist -lparmetis -lmetis -lblas"

We generally suggest that users specify <DEP>_PREFIX in preference over <DEP>_LIBRARIES whenever possible to avoid explicit specification of dependency trees such as these.

CMake also offers a mechanism to combine configuration parameters into a single “toolchain” file, e.g.

# my_toolchain.cmake
set( CMAKE_C_COMPILER       gcc      )
set( CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER     g++      )
set( CMAKE_Fortran_COMPILER gfortran )
set( SuperLU_DIST_PREFIX    "/yourdirectory/SuperLU_DIST_install/v6.1.0" )
set( ParMETIS_PREFIX        "/yourdirectory/parmetis-4.0.3_install" )

Toolchains may be specified by CMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE as a full path:

cmake -H<TOP DIR> -B<BINARY DIR> -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=$PWD/my_toolchain.cmake


In the examples/ folder:

examples$ mpirun -n 1 ./driver_pselinv_complex_(suffix)

should return the diagonal of the matrix \((A + i I)^{-1}\) saved on the 0-th processor, where \(A\) is the five-point discretization of a Laplacian operator on a 2D domain. The result can be compared with examples/driver_pselinv_complex.out to check the correctness of the result.

The FORTRAN examples are given in build/fortran/. For more information on the examples, see Tutorial Page.


If error messages occur, after debugging the compilation file, it is recommended to remove all files under build/ first and then rerun