Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Installing software for scientists on a multi-user HPC system

A comparison between conda, EasyBuild, Guix, Nix & Spack

Before scientists can use HPC systems for their research, they need to get the tools and applications installed that they require.

Until recently, this was a (perhaps surprisingly for some) painful process, especially for scientists that lack sufficient experience with compiling software and dealing with dependencies.

Recently, several projects have emerged that aim to facilitate this process, each of which with a particular focus: performance, flexibility, reproducibility, ease of use, support for multiple platforms, etc.

In this talk, I would like to present an objective comparison of the different tools that are most prevalent currently, including:

  • conda
  • EasyBuild
  • Guix
  • Nix
  • Spack

Although I intend to focus on the use case of installing (scientific) software on multi-user HPC systems, I will also highlight particularly interesting features that fall outside that scope.


Photo of Kenneth Hoste Kenneth Hoste