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C++ & Python API for Scientific I/O with openPMD

Project description

C++ & Python API for Scientific I/O with openPMD

Supported openPMD Standard Documentation Status Doxygen Gitter chat Supported Platforms License DOI

Linux/OSX Build Status dev Windows Build Status dev Coverage Status CodeFactor

This library provides a high-level API for writing and reading scientific data according to openPMD. It allows to build logical file structures which drive scientific I/O libraries such as HDF5 and ADIOS through a common, intuitive interface. Where supported, openPMD-api implements both serial and MPI parallel I/O capabilities.



C++11 C++11 API: Alpha

#include <openPMD/openPMD.hpp>
#include <iostream>

// ...

auto s = openPMD::Series("samples/git-sample/data%T.h5", openPMD::AccessType::READ_ONLY);

for( auto const& i : s.iterations ) {
    std::cout << "Iteration: " << i.first << "\n";

    for( auto const& m : i.second.meshes ) {
        std::cout << "  Mesh '" << m.first << "' attributes:\n";
        for( auto const& val : m.second.attributes() )
            std::cout << "    " << val << '\n';

    for( auto const& p : i.second.particles ) {
        std::cout << "  Particle species '" << p.first << "' attributes:\n";
        for( auto const& val : p.second.attributes() )
            std::cout << "    " << val << '\n';


Python3 Python3 API: Alpha

import openPMD

# ...

series = openPMD.Series("samples/git-sample/data%T.h5", openPMD.Access_Type.read_only)

for k_i, i in series.iterations.items():
    print("Iteration: {0}".format(k_i))

    for k_m, m in i.meshes.items():
        print("  Mesh '{0}' attributes:".format(k_m))
        for a in m.attributes:
            print("    {0}".format(a))

    for k_p, p in i.particles.items():
        print("  Particle species '{0}' attributes:".format(k_p))
        for a in p.attributes:
            print("    {0}".format(a))


Curious? Our manual shows full read & write examples, both serial and MPI-parallel!



  • CMake 3.10.0+
  • C++11 capable compiler, e.g. g++ 4.8+, clang 3.9+, VS 2015+

Shipped internally in share/openPMD/thirdParty/:

Optional I/O backends:

while those can be built either with or without:

  • MPI 2.1+, e.g. OpenMPI 1.6.5+ or MPICH2

Optional language bindings:

  • Python:
    • Python 3.X+
    • pybind 2.2.3+
    • numpy


Spack Package Conda Package

Choose one of the install methods below to get started:


# optional:               +python ^python@3:
spack install openpmd-api
spack load -r openpmd-api


Conda Version Conda Downloads

# serial version only
conda install -c conda-forge openpmd-api

From Source

openPMD can then be installed using CMake:

git clone

mkdir -p openPMD-api-build
cd openPMD-api-build

# optional: for full tests, with unzip

# for own install prefix append:
# for options append:
#   -DopenPMD_USE_...=...
# e.g. for python support add:
cmake ../openPMD-api

cmake --build .

# optional

# sudo might be required required for system paths
cmake --build . --target install

The following options can be added to the cmake call to control features. CMake controls options with prefixed -D, e.g. -DopenPMD_USE_MPI=OFF:

CMake Option Values Description
openPMD_USE_MPI AUTO/ON/OFF Enable MPI support
openPMD_USE_HDF5 AUTO/ON/OFF Enable support for HDF5
openPMD_USE_ADIOS1 AUTO/ON/OFF Enable support for ADIOS1
openPMD_USE_ADIOS2 AUTO/ON/OFF Enable support for ADIOS2 1
openPMD_USE_PYTHON AUTO/ON/OFF Enable Python bindings
openPMD_USE_INVASIVE_TESTS AUTO/ON/OFF Enable unit tests that modify source code 2
openPMD_USE_VERIFY ON/OFF Enable internal VERIFY (assert) macro independent of build type 3
PYTHON_EXECUTABLE (first found) Path to Python executable

1 not yet implemented 2 e.g. C++ keywords, currently disabled only for MSVC 3 this includes most pre-/post-condition checks, disabling without specific cause is highly discouraged

Additionally, the following libraries are shipped internally. The following options allow to switch to external installs:

CMake Option Values Library Version
openPMD_USE_INTERNAL_PYBIND11 ON/OFF pybind11 2.2.3+

By default, this will build as a static library (libopenPMD.a) and installs also its headers. In order to build a static library, append -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON to the cmake command. You can only build a static or a shared library at a time.

By default, the Release version is built. In order to build with debug symbols, pass -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug to your cmake command.

By default, tests and examples are built. In order to skip building those, pass -DBUILD_TESTING=OFF or -DBUILD_EXAMPLES to your cmake command.

Linking to your project

The install will contain header files and libraries in the path set with -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX.


If your project is using CMake for its build, one can conveniently use our provided Config.cmake package which is installed alongside the library.

First set the following environment hint if openPMD-api was not installed in a system path:

# optional: only needed if installed outside of system paths

Use the following lines in your project's CMakeLists.txt:

# supports:                       COMPONENTS MPI NOMPI HDF5 ADIOS1 ADIOS2
find_package(openPMD 0.1.0 CONFIG)

    target_link_libraries(YourTarget PRIVATE openPMD::openPMD)

Alternatively, add the openPMD-api repository source directly to your project and use it via:


target_link_libraries(YourTarget PRIVATE openPMD::openPMD)

Project details

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Filename, size & hash SHA256 hash help File type Python version Upload date
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