Linux Installations

Ubuntu Installation


  • Ubuntu 16 or newer
  • C++14 compiler
  • CMake 3.4 or newer
  • Gcc 4.9 or newer (GCC 7.3.1 has a bug and won’t work)
  • git
  • Boost 1.58 or newer
  • ZeroMQ 4.1.4 or newer (if ZeroMQ support is needed)
  • MPI-2 implementation (if MPI support is needed)


Note: Keep in mind that your CMake version should be newer than the boost version. If you have an older CMake, you may want an older boost version. Alternatively, you can choose to upgrade your version of CMake.

To set up your environment:

  1. Install dependencies using apt-get.

    sudo apt-get install libboost-dev
    sudo apt-get install libzmq5-dev
  2. Make sure CMake and git are available in the Command Prompt. If they aren’t, add them to the system PATH variable.

Getting and building from source:

  1. Use git clone to to check out a copy of HELICS.
  2. Create a build folder. Run CMake and give it the path that HELICS was checked out into.
  3. Run “make”.

Notes for Ubuntu

Building with GCC 4.9 and 5.X on Ubuntu requires some additional flags due to the way Ubuntu builds those compilers add -DCMake_CXX_FLAGS="-D_GLIBCXX_USE_C99 -D_GLIBCXX_USE_C99_MATH" to make it work. If you built the compilers from source this may not be required.

git clone
mkdir build
cd build
CMake ../
cCMake . # optional, to change install path or other configuration settings
make install


A quick test is to double check the versions of the HELICS player and recorder:

cd /path/to/helics_install/bin

$ helics_player --version
x.x.x (20XX-XX-XX)

$ helics_recorder --version
x.x.x (20XX-XX-XX)

Building HELICS with python support

Run the following:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-dev
$ make -j8
$ make install

Add the following to your ~/.bashrc file.

export PYTHONPATH=~/.local/helics-X.X.X/python:$PYTHONPATH
export PATH=~/.local/bin:$PATH

Testing HELICS with python support

If you open a interactive Python session and import HELICS, you should be able to get the version of helics and an output that is similar to the following.

$ ipython
Python 3.6.4 |Anaconda, Inc.| (default, Jan 16 2018, 12:04:33)
Type 'copyright', 'credits' or 'license' for more information
IPython 6.2.1 -- An enhanced Interactive Python. Type '?' for help.

In [1]: import helics

In [2]: helics.helicsGetVersion()
Out[2]: 'x.x.x (20XX-XX-XX)'

A few Specialized Platforms

The HELICS build supports a few specialized platforms, more will be added as needed. Generally the build requirements are automatically detected but that is not always possible. So a system configuration can be specified in the HELICS_BUILD_CONFIGURATION variable of CMake.

Raspbery PI

To build on Raspberry PI system using Raspbian use HELICS_BUILD_CONFIGURATION=PI This will add a few required libraries to the build so it works without other configuration. Otherwise it is also possible to build using -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=-latomic