Deploying Paraview on Cluster

This post summarizes steps to deploy Paraview on a computing cluster using paraview-superbuild.

ParaView-Superbuild is a project to build ParaView and its dependencies.

To use it, we need:

  • A CXX11 compiler (can be installed using Spack).
  • CMake (can also installed using Spack).
  • MPI (instead of using system’s MPI, I used openmpi installed using Spack. It is unclear what are the side effects).

After setting up these dependencies, clone the project with submodules:

git clone --recursive

Then, checkout a specific tag from the superbuild git repository:

git checkout v5.2.0 && git submodule update

Next, create a build directory OUTSIDE of the clone.

cd .. && mkdir -p superbuild-build && cd superbuild-build

Revoke CMake from within the build direcotory

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/to/install/paraview \
      -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=/path/to/c/compiler \
      -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/path/to/cxx/compiler \
      -DENABLE_mpi=ON -DUSE_SYSTEM_mpi=ON \
      -DENABLE_tbb=ON -DUSE_SYSTEM_tbb=OFF \

A few notes on the arguments:

  • SUPERBUILD_DEFAULT_INSTALL=paraview/DragNDrop. This is required, otherwise superbuild will try to install dependencies into /usr/local/.
  • CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX is the install directory for paraview.
  • CMAKE_C_COMPILER and CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER are set to be the ones that support CXX11.
  • ENABLE_mpi=ON to enable MPI support. This is the whole point of deploying Paraview on a cluster.
  • DUSE_SYSTEM_mpi=ON to pick up system MPI.


make && make install

and chill.

Remark: Things can go wrong with polluted environment variables. In that case, add these lines to the top of ~/.bashrc (before setting up Spack):

unset CPATH

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