Fermilab contributes to the award-winning software tool Spack


Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt adapted from a article published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Fermilab scientists contributed to the award-winning software package management tool Spack, the initial development of which was led by Livermore.

In November, the professional journal Magazine of the R&D world announced the winners of the 100 annual R&D awards, sometimes referred to as the “Oscars of Invention,” in an online publication and emails to the winners.

Among the winners was Spack, a software package management tool for high performance computing applications, a project led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a DOE national laboratory.

Spack is an easy-to-use, versatile, and scalable software package management tool for high-performance computing applications. It simplifies and speeds up software creation and customization by automating the authoring workflow, reducing deployment time for large software stacks from weeks to hours.

In 2013, Todd Gamblin, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, created the first prototype of Spack to automate the many tedious software versions that he and his colleagues were forced to perform manually.

Over 2,300 monthly active users use Spack software worldwide. Image courtesy of Spack

Today, Spack is widely available as open source software. Spack’s 100 or so original packages have grown into a library of over 3,500, and a large and active community of over 450 contributors regularly adds features and enhancements.

Spack is now used for software deployment on six of the world’s top 10 supercomputers, and it has been adopted by a number of high-performance computing centers and software development communities.

Even outside of high performance data centers, Spack has had a major impact. It was chosen as an end-to-end development tool within the high energy physics community, based at Fermilab in the United States and at CERN in Switzerland.

Fermilab scientists contributed to the basic functionalities of Spack as well as to the software definitions specific to high energy physics.

While Livermore led the initial development of Spack, software co-developers include Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory, the Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, Iowa State University, Kitware Inc., NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Energy Research Center for Scientific Computing, Perimeter Institute, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, University of Hamburg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Iowa.

Fermilab is a national DOE laboratory supported by the Office of Science.


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