Installing software using EasyBuild

At PDC EasyBuild is used on the supercomputer Dardel

Easybuild is a software build and installation framework that allows you to manage (scientific) software on High Performance Computing (HPC) systems in an efficient way. You can find more information about Easybuild at and all documentations for easybuild reside at Easybuild is available on PDC clusters to facilitate the installation of software or to install software in your home folder.

There are two versions of EasyBuild installed. EasyBuild-production module is only intended for users with privileged access to PDC clusters.

For local installations

This module will facilitate the installation of the desired software into your home folder and will build software and modules into ~/easybuild_user

module load EasyBuild-user

How is EasyBuild configured

Easybuild module at PDC is configured to take advantage of existent local resources.

  • Temporary files stored in /tmp
  • EasyBuild searches for easyconfig recipes locally and has access to many recipes from various HPC centers.
  • EasyBuild searches for easyblocks and has access to many recipes from various HPC centers.
  • EasyBuild includes toolchains that are specific to the resources at hand

You can look up the current configuration of EasyBuild by…

eb --show-config

How to install software using EasyBuild

Files ending with eb are called easyconfig files and are used as recipes for installation. In general they have the following format.

eb <software>-<version>-<toolchain>-<version>.eb

dry-run installation of software

Performing a dry-run is a handy procedure for testing the installation of a software.

eb Boost-1.75.0-cpeGNU-21.09.eb -dr,--dry-run

You can also use -x,–extended-dry-run for more information

How to search for software using EasyBuild

The installation at PDC includes many easyconfigs that can be searched for and use as a base for new easyconfig recipes. On Dardel git repositories of easyconfigs can be found within the directory


The PDC-Software-stack is also hosted as a public git repository on In order to search for easyconfigs for a specific program, use the command

eb -S  <software>

where <software> is the case insensitive name of the program that you would like to install. For example, for a listing of available easyconfigs for the molecular dynamics program GROMACS, use

* $CFGS1/GROMACS-2020.5-cpeCray-21.09.eb
* $CFGS1/GROMACS-2021.3-cpeCray-21.09.eb
* $CFGS1/GROMACS-2021.3-cpeCray-21.11.eb
* $CFGS1/GROMACS-2022-beta1-cpeCray-21.09.eb
* $CFGS2/GROMACS-2018.6-CrayGNU-20.08-cuda-pat.eb
* $CFGS2/GROMACS-2018.6-CrayGNU-20.08-cuda.eb

Also you can directly install these softwares by just entering the easyconfig name

How install dependent software

In many cases a specific installation has many dependencies. These dependencies can be automatically installed using easyconfigs that are available in robot paths

eb Boost-1.75.0-cpeGNU-21.09.eb -r,--robot

To check what dependencies are missing

eb Boost-1.75.0-cpeGNU-21.09.eb -M,--missing

How to build easyconfig files

The easyconfig file is central for installing a software with EasyBuild. This is a short tutorial on how to achieve that. More information can be found at


Parameters are good as variables to provide information for EasyBuild. A full overview of all known easyconfig parameter can be acquired using…

eb -a,--avail-easyconfig-params

More information can be found at


A set of templates that can be used in easyconfig files and function as small commands.

eb --avail-easyconfig-templates

More information can be found at


This specifies the name and version of the software. The created module will be named accordingly.

name = 'Blast+'
version = '2.12.0'
homepage = ''
description = """Blast for searching sequences"""


A toolchain provides information for EasyBuild about compilers libraries etc… The idea is to compose and maintain a limited set of specific compiler toolchains. At PDC we have several toolchains that should be used in case you would like to parallelize your software

  • cpeCray
  • cpeGNU
  • cpeAMD

In your easyconfig file you enter this information using the following command.

toolchain = {'name': 'cpeGNU', 'version': '21.09'}

Remember that what toolchain should be used when building your software will also have an impact on the dependencies your installation has.

For small software or supporting libraries it is not always important that you use the cpeXXX toolchains but are happy with using whatever system toolchain there is.

toolchain = SYSTEM


Specify where EasyBuild can download your source code. Also look at templates described earlier for functions to simplify this process.

sources = [{
    'source_urls': [''],
    'filename': '%(name)s-%(version)s.tar.gz',
    'extract_cmd': "tar xf %s",  # Optional


An easyblock is a python code to address special procedure for the installation. For example, adresses that you should first run configure > make > make install or cmake > make > make install

easyblock = 'type'

Many EasyBlock are generic as to describe standard installation patterns. Easyconfigs without an easyblock entry are specific and Easybuild will search for EasyBlocks named EB_[software] in the local EasyBuild repository.

To find which easyblock are available for you…

eb --list-easyblocks

See information about which generic easyblock are available at


Will be taken into consideration during the installation procedure if an easyconfig is found or if a module already exists

Ordinarily a dependency will follow whatever main application toolchain has been defined

dependencies = [
    ('Software', 'version'),

If you, however, would like to build a specific dependency with the SYSTEM toolchain, the format is as follows…

dependencies = [
    ('Software', 'version', '', ('system', '')),

Sanity check

Prior of finalizing the installation, EasyBuild performs a sanity check to ensure that everything was installed correctly.

sanity_check_paths = {
    'files': ['bin/reframe',
    'dirs': ['bin', 'lib', 'share', 'tutorials']
sanity_check_commands = [
    'software --version',
    'software --help',

Final results

After the installation is completed, EasyBuild will have built the software in question and provided a module for it.