Installing ALPS

ALPS: The Arbitrary Linear Plasma Solver

These are the install instructions for the ALPS code: the Arbitrary Linear Plasma Solver.


Kristopher Klein ( Daniel Verscharen (


  1. Requirements and Dependencies
  2. Setting up Computer Environments
  3. Getting the ALPS Code
  4. Installing the ALPS Code
  5. Execution of Test Runs


ALPS has the following requirements:

  • A UNIX, Linux, or macOS operating system with a working shell
  • GNU make, in some cases it is useful to have the autoconf/automake tools
  • Fortran 90 compiler (e.g., gfortran) - we recommend using the latest version of the compiler to avoid any surprises in the evaluation.
  • MPI (e.g., openmpi) - likewise, this should also be the latest version
  • BLAS and LAPACK - these two libraries are used for the polyharmonic spline interpolation in ALPS. They are directly linked during the compilation


For Ubuntu and macOS users, the following instructions have proven to be useful. On both systems, we recommend deactivating potential anaconda installations that could interfere with the ALPS installation:

conda deactivate

On Ubuntu, the following installation routines obtain the necessary software packages for ALPS:

sudo apt-get install -y libopenmpi-dev
sudo apt-get install -y libopenblas-dev libblas-dev liblapack-dev

If an older compiler or MPI version is still installed, it may be necessary to deinstall this before using apt-get.

On macOS, homebrew is a good way to install the necessary packages:

brew install gcc openmpi


We recommend pulling the latest version of ALPS from GitHub. For this, go to the directory where you want to install ALPS and execute the following command:

git clone

Alternatively, you can also go to the website directly and download the source code from there. The advantage of using the git command is that you can now contribute to the development of the ALPS code. If you make any changes to the code, GitHub will run automatic tests (via workflows) to ensure that the changes do not break the code.


If all requirements are available, the code can be compiled with the following commands:

sudo make install           (this option is only required if you want to
                             make the ALPS executable available to all users)

The in the repository has been generated with automake-1.15 from If you have a different version of automake, make may fail. In that case, start again with

autoreconf -i -f

before the execution of ./configure.


ALPS comes with a selection of test runs that cycle through various test problems. To execute a small set of tests, execute the following shell script:


This script will test the interpolation routine, the routine to generate pre- described distribution functions, and a simply fast dispersion relation.

To execute a more complete set of test problems, execute the following shell script:


This script will test the interpolation routine and then a number of ALPS test cases, including the generation of the relevant distribution functions. The test routine outputs time stamps during each steps to compare the speed of the ALPS code and to facilitate scaling tests. For each test, the script will explain whether errors occurred or not in any of the tests. The code output itself will be piped into the .out and .error files in the home directory.

For advice on running ALPS, please see the README file.

Building the documentation

ALPS uses Ford to build its documentation. The documentation is automatically built and deployed to by the doc workflow. To build the documentation locally, follow the Build documentation step in the workflow, summarized here: 1. Install ford by e.g. pip install ford. See Ford documentation for details 2. Create a docs directory by mkdir docs 3. Add a line title: Readme to the top of and copy it to docs/ 4. Add a line title: Install to the top of and copy it to docs/ 5. Run ford 6. Open docs/index.html in a browser to view the documentation

Adding static pages to documentation

The and files are added to the Ford documentation as static pages. You can add more static pages to the documentation by 1. Add the content in a markdown file to the repository. 2. Add a title: line to the beginning of the file and copy it to docs/ in the doc workflow. See steps 3-4 in the previous section, or the Build documentation step in the workflow. 3. Add the name of the markdown file as a new line under ordered_subpage in