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A framework for high-performance data analytics and machine learning.

Project description

Heat is a distributed tensor framework for high performance data analytics.

Project Status

CPU/CUDA/ROCm tests Documentation Status coverage license: MIT PyPI Version Downloads Anaconda-Server Badge OpenSSF Scorecard OpenSSF Best Practices DOI Benchmarks Code style: black

Table of Contents

What is Heat for?

Heat builds on PyTorch and mpi4py to provide high-performance computing infrastructure for memory-intensive applications within the NumPy/SciPy ecosystem.

With Heat you can:

  • port existing NumPy/SciPy code from single-CPU to multi-node clusters with minimal coding effort;
  • exploit the entire, cumulative RAM of your many nodes for memory-intensive operations and algorithms;
  • run your NumPy/SciPy code on GPUs (CUDA, ROCm, coming up: Apple MPS).

For a example that highlights the benefits of multi-node parallelism, hardware acceleration, and how easy this can be done with the help of Heat, see, e.g., our blog post on trucated SVD of a 200GB data set.

Check out our coverage tables to see which NumPy, SciPy, scikit-learn functions are already supported.

If you need a functionality that is not yet supported:

Check out our features and the Heat API Reference for a complete list of functionalities.


  • High-performance n-dimensional arrays
  • CPU, GPU, and distributed computation using MPI
  • Powerful data analytics and machine learning methods
  • Seamless integration with the NumPy/SciPy ecosystem
  • Python array API (work in progress)

Getting Started

Go to Quick Start for a quick overview. For more details, see Installation.

You can test your setup by running the script:

mpirun -n 2 python

It should print something like this:

x is distributed:  True
Global DNDarray x:  DNDarray([0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], dtype=ht.int32, device=cpu:0, split=0)
Global DNDarray x:
Local torch tensor on rank  0 :  tensor([0, 1, 2, 3, 4], dtype=torch.int32)
Local torch tensor on rank  1 :  tensor([5, 6, 7, 8, 9], dtype=torch.int32)

Check out our Jupyter Notebook Tutorials, choose local to try things out on your machine, or hpc if you have access to an HPC system.

The complete documentation of the latest version is always deployed on Read the Docs.




  • python >= 3.8
  • MPI (OpenMPI, MPICH, Intel MPI, etc.)
  • mpi4py >= 3.0.0
  • pytorch >= 1.11.0

Parallel I/O

  • h5py
  • netCDF4

GPU support

In order to do computations on your GPU(s):

  • your CUDA or ROCm installation must match your hardware and its drivers;
  • your PyTorch installation must be compiled with CUDA/ROCm support.

HPC systems

On most HPC-systems you will not be able to install/compile MPI or CUDA/ROCm yourself. Instead, you will most likely need to load a pre-installed MPI and/or CUDA/ROCm module from the module system. Maybe, you will even find PyTorch, h5py, or mpi4py as (part of) such a module. Note that for optimal performance on GPU, you need to usa an MPI library that has been compiled with CUDA/ROCm support (e.g., so-called "CUDA-aware MPI").


Install the latest version with

pip install heat[hdf5,netcdf]

where the part in brackets is a list of optional dependencies. You can omit it, if you do not need HDF5 or NetCDF support.


The conda build includes all dependencies including OpenMPI.

 conda install -c conda-forge heat

Support Channels

Go ahead and ask questions on GitHub Discussions. If you found a bug or are missing a feature, then please file a new issue. You can also get in touch with us on Mattermost (sign up with your GitHub credentials). Once you log in, you can introduce yourself on the Town Square channel.

Contribution guidelines

We welcome contributions from the community, if you want to contribute to Heat, be sure to review the Contribution Guidelines and Resources before getting started!

We use GitHub issues for tracking requests and bugs, please see Discussions for general questions and discussion. You can also get in touch with us on Mattermost (sign up with your GitHub credentials). Once you log in, you can introduce yourself on the Town Square channel.

If you’re unsure where to start or how your skills fit in, reach out! You can ask us here on GitHub, by leaving a comment on a relevant issue that is already open.

If you are new to contributing to open source, this guide helps explain why, what, and how to get involved.


Parallel Computing and MPI:



Heat is distributed under the MIT license, see our LICENSE file.

Citing Heat

Please do mention Heat in your publications if it helped your research. You can cite:

  • Götz, M., Debus, C., Coquelin, D., Krajsek, K., Comito, C., Knechtges, P., Hagemeier, B., Tarnawa, M., Hanselmann, S., Siggel, S., Basermann, A. & Streit, A. (2020). HeAT - a Distributed and GPU-accelerated Tensor Framework for Data Analytics. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (Big Data) (pp. 276-287). IEEE, DOI: 10.1109/BigData50022.2020.9378050.
    title={{HeAT -- a Distributed and GPU-accelerated Tensor Framework for Data Analytics}},
      Markus Götz and
      Charlotte Debus and
      Daniel Coquelin and
      Kai Krajsek and
      Claudia Comito and
      Philipp Knechtges and
      Björn Hagemeier and
      Michael Tarnawa and
      Simon Hanselmann and
      Martin Siggel and
      Achim Basermann and
      Achim Streit
    booktitle={2020 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (Big Data)},


Work in progress...


This work is supported by the Helmholtz Association Initiative and Networking Fund under project number ZT-I-0003 and the Helmholtz AI platform grant.

This project has received funding from Google Summer of Code (GSoC) in 2022.

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