Dear SOMA-2013 Summer School Participant,

You should have received an invitation to join a Google group entitled soma2013-computation. Once you join the group, you can exchange your experience in installing the software that will be used in the school and ask any questions to me and your peer school participants. Please join the group and read the following software/hardware requirements carefully.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or the entire group at (replace -at- with @) should you have any questions.

Software/hardware requirements for SOMA-2013

* IMPORTANT: you will need to bring a laptop running Linux or Mac OS with the following software installed to get the most out of the school.

Our school will involve practical sessions during which you will have the chance to learn to use and practice using numerical fluid dynamics methods for attacking astrophysical problems. For this, each of you will need to have 1) a laptop running Linux, Unix, or MAC OS X (note: MS Windows are not enough!) with 2) the following software installed. It is important that you install the software *prior* to your arrival in school so that you can immediately start using the software.

Software requirements:

1. Visualization and analysis software:

1a) VisIt:
1b) Paraview:
1c) Python with the following libraries installed: scipy (version>=0.9), matplotlib, numpy, pylab, ipython

How to install Python:

On Windows:
unfortunately, the codes are not designed with Windows in mind. If you have a windows laptop, please consider installing a Linux distribution (such as e.g. Ubuntu) alongside Windows. One of the easiest ways to do so might be to install VirtualBox under Windows and install Linux (e.g., Ubuntu) inside of VirtualBox. This way you will be able to run all scientific codes and analysis tools right there on your laptop.
On Linux:
Try using your system package manager or an Enthought distribution (see below instructions for Mac OS X, item (1)).
On Mac OS X:
There are several ways of getting Python:
(1) Most hazzle-free is the Enthought Python distribution (which includes all of the above packages), certain versions of which are free:
(2) "ScipySuperpack" for Mac OS X version 10.8
The advantage of this distribution is that it uses "bleeding edge" versions of the packages so they contain most new features. The disadvantage is is that those latest packages also contain most new bugs. Enjoy, but responsibly.
(3) Follow the following instructions for installing latest stable version of python and libraries:

2. Astrophysical numerical codes:

2a) Athena: (click on Downloads at the bottom of the page)
2b) "HARM: 2D GRMHD accretion". I have added a few new test problems to the default distribution. If you previously download the original distribution, please download the updated HARM2D.
Please make sure that both codes compile. To ensure this, it usually suffices to edit the file with the name "makefile" (without quotes) and run "make clean" (also without the quotes) followed by "make" (no quotes, either).


To leverage the possibilities of parallel computing (if you have multiple cores on your laptop or on computational clusters), you might want to make sure that MPI and/or OPENMP are installed on your machine. This will allow you to speed up the computations by a factor roughly equal to the number of cores on your machine. This comes in handy to get to the results (read: pretty pictures) fast.

4. New! VLBI analysis software: see full instructions here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact mailing list (replace -at- with @).

We look forward to seeing you at the school soon!


Alexander (Sasha) Tchekhovskoy

Mikhail Lisakov