SC22 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Birds of a Feather Archive

Spack Community BoF

Authors: Todd Gamblin (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Gregory Becker (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Adam Stewart (University of Illinois), Peter Scheibel (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Harmen Stoppels (Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)), Massimiliano Culpo (Np-Complete S.r.l.)

Abstract: Spack is a package manager for scientific computing, with a rapidly growing open-source community. Spack has over 1,000 contributors from academia, industry, and laboratories across the world, and is used to manage software releases for the U.S. Exascale Computing Project. At this BoF, Spack developers will give updates on the community, new features, and the roadmap for future development. We will poll the audience to gather valuable information on how Spack is being used, and will open the floor for questions. All are invited to provide feedback, request features, and discuss future directions. Help us make installing HPC software simple!

Long Description: HPC software is becoming increasingly complex. The largest applications require hundreds of dependency libraries, and they combine interpreted languages like Python with C, C++, and Fortran libraries. To achieve good performance, developers tune for multiple compilers, build options, and implementations of dependency libraries like MPI, BLAS, and LAPACK. The space of possible build configurations is combinatorial, and developers waste countless hours rebuilding software instead of producing new scientific results. Spack ( is a package manager for scientific computing. It aims to reduce the complexity of building and installing HPC software on laptops, clusters, and the most powerful supercomputers in the world. There are over 6,400 package recipes in the Spack mainline repository, and over 3,000 users visit the Spack documentation monthly. Spack has a rapidly growing open source community from across the world, with over 1,000 contributors from academia, industry, and laboratories. End users install complex HPC applications; developers manage dependencies for themselves and for their team; and the largest supercomputing sites in the world use Spack to deploy software for thousands of users. Spack is also being used to manage software releases for the U.S. Exascale Computing Project. The goals of this BOF are: 1) to inform users about recent and upcoming developments, 2) to connect sites and developers using Spack to manage software, 3) to solicit feedback to guide future directions, and 4) to build the Spack community. Since we originally presented Spack at SC15, the community has grown very rapidly, and new features are being added at a rapid pace. SC is a great venue to keep the user community informed about the most important new developments, and to ensure Spack core developers understand the evolving needs of the user base. This Spack Community BOF was also held at SC'18, with an attendance of 80, and SC'19, with an attendance of 90. Since then, the number of contributors to Spack has grown by more than 50%, thanks to new collaborations with RIKEN, Fujitsu, and other organizations. We have held Spack tutorials at SC in 2016-20. The in-person Spack tutorial at SC'19 had upwards of 60 attendees. At the last in-person PEARC conference in 2019, we had another 70 attendees. Users and contributors have asked for a more interactive forum to build the community, make announcements, and solicit feedback. An SC BOF is the ideal venue for these interactions.


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