Setup Development Environment

Dakota has the following toolchain and software package dependencies. See sections that follow for suggestions on how to satisfy them.

Dakota regression test baselines are based on the recommended Dakota RHEL 7 configuration below. Regression tests will typically exhibit numerical differences when running on other platforms. For developers needing to reproduce RHEL 7 baselines on other platforms, e.g., for pre-push code verification, a Docker-based build/test process is also described in Setup Your Development Environment.


Dakota developers at SNL should augment this information with site-specific documentation.


Table 19 Dakota Build Toolchains





>= 3.17


C Compiler

>= C99


C++ Compiler

>= C++11


Fortran Compiler

77, 90



>= 2.7 or >= 3.6

Required; 3.6 or newer recommended


>= 5.16


Java JDK

= 11

Optional; required for dakota.xml maintenance, generating user docs


= 1.8.20

Optional; required for generating C++ code docs


>= 5.0

Optional; required for generating user docs. Requires sub-packages , myst-parser, sphinx-rtd-theme, sphinxcontrib-bibtex

Notes on toolchains:

  • Dakota is most commonly built with GCC, Intel, and Visual C++ compilers, and to a lesser extent with Cray, PGI, IBM, and Clang. Recent versions of these compilers are not covered by automated testing so using really new ones may require patches or disabling some Dakota packages (often Acro and/or AMPL).

  • Typically the compilers should be from the same toolchain and version, i.e., don’t mix Intel C++ with GCC Fortran unless you understand the consequences.

  • C99 is not supported by Dakota’s AMPL package.

  • Refer to Writing Dakota Documentation for detailed instructions on installing Sphinx into your preferred Python environment.


Table 20 Core Dakota Packages




Linear Algebra


Required, e.g., BLAS/LAPACK, MKL, Accelerate


>= 1.69

Required; headers, plus libraries: filesystem, program_options, regex, serialization, system



Optional, e.g., MPICH, OpenMPI


= 1.10.4 (Dakota may work with 1.10.x for x > 4; untested)

Optional; required for Dakota structured results output


Optional; required to enable HDF5-based tests (recommended for developers)


>= 1.15

Optional; required for QUESO Bayesian calibration, induces GPL dependency

Trilinos (Teuchos and ROL)

>= 13.0

Optional, as Dakota includes a snapshot in packages/external/trilinos

Notes on Packages:

Linear Algebra:

  • If installing with a package manager, consider including the user runtime as well as development packages, e.g., blas, blas-devel, lapack, lapack-devel, to facilitate both dynamic and static linking.

  • Some systems do not provide canonically named versions of these libraries, so it may be necessary to symbolically link, e.g., -> Otherwise you may be able to specify full paths to the desired libraries using the CMake variables BLAS_LIBS, LAPACK_LIBS


  • Make sure the CMake version you’re using is newer than the Boost version to properly find Boost.

  • If compiling Boost from source, it may be necessary to compile Boost with C++11, e.g., by setting -std=c++11 or similar.


  • The MPI installation must be compatible with the compiler toolchain.


  • If compiling HDF5 from source, C++ support must be enabled (--enable-cxx option to configure), which is not the default when building it from source.


  • Dakota’s Trilinos snapshot suffices for most users. Those who need Dakota to be compatible with a specific Trilinos installation, e.g., when linking Dakota as a library with a Trilinos-dependent application, should provide their own Trilinos.

  • If compiling Trilinos from source, enable at least the Teuchos and ROL packages.

  • Dakota likely cannot be compiled against Kokkos-enabled Trilinos.

  • Compatibility:

    • Dakota 6.10–6.12 require Trilinos dated May 2019 or newer, or otherwise disabling deprecated code in Teuchos due to removal of ostream::operator<<.

    • Dakota 6.13 and newer require Trilinos 13.0 or newer.

Platform-specific Hints

For Linux platforms in general, it’s easiest to satisfy Dakota’s dependencies using OS package managers, supplementing with compiling from source as needed.


On RHEL 7 (most recently 7.8), we satisfied Dakota’s dependencies with the following which are all from either the standard package or EPEL (yum install epel-release) repositories and installed with yum install.

Core development tools: GCC 4.8.5, Java 11, Python 3.6.8 (alternately 2.7.5 via the python package), Perl 5.16.3:

yum install git cmake3 gcc gcc-c++ gcc-gfortran java-11-openjdk-devel python3 perl

Libraries/runtimes: Boost 1.69, OpenMPI 1.10.3, GSL 1.15.

yum install blas blas-devel lapack lapack-devel boost169 boost169-devel openmpi openmpi-devel gsl gsl-devel

Enabling HDF5 requires compiling and installing HDF5 1.10.4 and optionally an h5py that uses it. (Dakota may work with, but hasn’t been verified with, newer HDF5 1.10.x)

If building documentation, see above for Python packages as well.

yum install doxygen texlive-collection-latexrecommended

When configuring use cmake3 and specify Boost include/library directories to point to, e.g., /usr/include/boost169.


The following list of packages work for a trial Dakota build on CentOS or Rocky Linux 8 distro.

Base Packages resulting in GCC 8.5.0, Python 3.6.8, CMake 3.20.2, and OpenMPI 4.1.1:

# yum or dnf install the following packages...
git make cmake gcc gcc-c++ gcc-gfortran python3 perl blas lapack openmpi openmpi-devel

# Omit boost as will install 1.66
## boost boost-devel

# GSL only needed if enabling Dakota's QUESO library
gsl gsl-devel

# NOTE: Java should only be needed if maintaining Dakota or building documentation

# For Python features (optional)
python3-h5py python3-numpy

# Enable the PowerTools repo via editing /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-PowerTools.repo and install
blas-devel lapack-devel

EPEL Packages add Boost 1.69 and HDF 1.10.5:


# EPEL, PowerTools for Boost to /usr/include/boost169
boost169 boost169-devel

# Optional; also needs powertools for libsz and libaec deps
hdf5 hdf5-devel: 1.10.5

# Optional python linked library:

Basic build example:

cmake -D BOOST_INCLUDEDIR:PATH=/usr/include/boost169 -DBOOST_LIBRARYDIR:PATH=/usr/lib64/boost169 ../source


An incomplete, but perhaps helpful, list of packages for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, starting from a minimal desktop installation:

apt-get install gcc g++ gfortran cmake libboost-all-dev libblas-dev liblapack-dev libopenmpi-dev openmpi-bin gsl-bin libgsl-dev python perl libhdf5-dev

An incomplete, but perhaps helpful, list of packages for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:

apt-get install gcc g++ gfortran cmake libboost-all-dev libblas-dev liblapack-dev libopenmpi-dev openmpi-bin gsl-bin libgsl-dev python perl

Other possibly helpful package names:

doxygen texlive-latex-base openjdk-11-jre-headless

Mac OS

A number of approaches can be used to satisfy Dakota’s dependencies on Mac OS / OS X. Typically the OS-provided Accelerate linear algebra suffices. These are listed in reverse chronological order, in hopes of archiving useful information, with the first being the most promising approach currently.


Mac SIP and other security features can be highly problematic when running Dakota tests or even using the Dakota binaries.


If you build your own toolchains, make sure that the TPLs are built with the compiler you intend to use for Dakota and not the system compiler. It may be necessary to explicitly enable C++11 when compiling Boost, particularly with GCC compilers.

Verified on MacOS 11 (Big Sur): System Clang + GFortran

Uses system-provided clang/clang++, perl, python, VecLib/Accelerate, with Homebrew GFortran. Demonstrated on Intel MacBook Pro (2020)

  1. Follow the instructions on the homebrew website to install the homebrew package manager.

  2. Install packages:

    brew install cmake gcc open-mpi boost gsl hdf5 openjdk@11
  3. Sample basic build:


Verified August 2020 (probably on OS X 10.15 Catalina):

Follow the instructions on the homebrew website to install the homebrew package manager.

  • Install the desired version of gcc from homebrew:

    brew install gcc@7


  • Download a source package for Boost 1.69 and unpack it someplace.

  • Follow the instructions on the Boost website to build Boost.Build.

  • Create ~/user-config.jam with the following in it. (Switch gcc-7 to the desired version, if different):

    using darwin : : gcc-7 : <cxxflags>"-std=c++11" ;
  • At the top of the boost source directory, invoke b2 with the following options, making sure to replace/set $INSTALL_PATH and $BUILD_PATH to something convenient:

    b2 link=static --without-python define=_GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI=1 --prefix=$INSTALL_PATH --build-dir=$BUILD_PATH install


export CXX=<homebrew C++ compiler>
export CC=<homebrew C compiler>
export CXXFLAGS='-std=c++11 -D_GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI=1'
./configure --enable-cxx --prefix=<install location>
make install


When building Dakota with C++11, CMake -D_GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI=1 by default. You can see this by running make VERBOSE=1. This define is explained here. The above configuration produces a compatible Boost build.

Alternately, one might be able to explicitly disable this by adding -D_GLIBCXX_USE_CXX11_ABI=0 to CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS; CMake is smart enough to pass that option to the compiler only once, with it set to 0. Which of these is the best approach, building with the define turned on or off, is currently unclear. Things just need to be consistent.


The following details for OS X 12.12 are outdated but serve an archival role for providing hints for building on Mac OS X more generally.

Verified on OS X 10.12: All homebrew approach.

  1. Follow the instructions on the homebrew website to install the homebrew package manager.

  2. Install gcc@5, which includes all needed compilers, with the command

    brew install gcc@5
  3. Install CMake with the command

    brew install cmake
  4. Install Boost 1.55. It is necessary to instruct brew to build Boost from source using the gcc-5 compiler.

    brew install --build-from-source --cc=gcc-5 boost@1.55
  5. Optional (needed for message-passing parallelism): Install OpenMPI 1.6, building it from source, too.

    brew install --build-from-source --cc=gcc-5 open-mpi@1.6
  6. Optional (needed to use bayes_calibration queso): GSL 1.16 from source.

    brew install --build-from-source --cc=gcc-5 gsl@1.16

Verified on OS X 10.9 – 10.12: CMake from DMG, XCode, GCC compilers from Use them to build Boost, OpenMPI, and GSL from source.


We regularly compile 64-bit Dakota binaries on Windows 10 64-bit with the following tools:

  • CMake: install using Windows installer from

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2019, update 11 (version 16.11)

  • Intel Fortran: Intel Parallel Studio XE 2020, update 4 to work with MSVS

  • Python 3.10.6

  • Strawberry Perl

  • Eclipse Temurin JDK 11 (LTS) HotSpot

And packages:

  • BLAS/LAPACK: reference LAPACK 3.10.1 built statically with MSVS/Intel Fortran, e.g., cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A x64 -D BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=FALSE

  • Boost 1.71.0 binary package for MSVC 14.2

  • HDF5 1.10.8 built statically with MSVS