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Metis and Parmetis

The University of Minnesota provide a family of libraries for partitioning graphs and meshes, and computing fill-reducing ordering of sparse matrices. These libraries coming broadly under the label of "Metis". They are free to use for educational and research purposes.


  • module load metis

Metis is the sequential library for partitioning problems; it also supplies a number of simple stand-alone utility programs to access the Metis API for graph and mesh partioning, and graph and mesh manipulation. The stand alone programs typically read a graph or mesh from file which must be in "metis" format.

Compiling and linking with Metis

The Metis library available via module load metis comes both with and without support for OpenMP. When using the compiler wrappers cc, CC, and ftn, the appropriate version will be selected based on the presence or absence of, e.g., -fopenmp in the compile or link invocation.

Use, e.g.,

$ cc --cray-print-opts
$ cc -fopenmp --cray-print-opts
to see exactly what options are being issued by the compiler wrapper when the metis module is loaded.

Metis is currently provided as static libraries, so it should not be necessary to re-load the metis module at run time.

The serial utilities (e.g. gpmetis for graph partitioning) are supplied without OpenMP. These may then be run on the front end for small problems if the metis module is loaded.

The metis module defines the environment variable METIS_DIR which indicates the current location of the Metis installation.


  • module load parmetis

Parmetis is the distributed memory incarnation of the Metis functionality. As for the metis module, Parmetis is integrated with use of the compiler wrappers cc, CC, and ftn.

Parmetis depends on the metis module, which is loaded automatically by the parmetis module.

The parmetis module defines the environment variable PARMETIS_DIR which holds the current location of the Parmetis installation. This variable may not respond to a change of compiler version within a given programming environment. If you wish to use PARMETIS_DIR in such a context, you may need to (re-)load the parmetis module after the change of compiler version.

Module version history

  • module metis/5.1.0 installed January 2021
  • module parmetis/4.0.3 installed January 2021

Compile your own version

The build procedure used for the Metis and Parmetis libraries on Archer2 is available via github.


The latest Archer2 version of Metis can be installed

$ git clone
$ cd pe-scripts
$ git checkout cse-develop
$ ./sh/tpsl/ --prefix=/path/to/install/location

where --prefix determines the install location. This will download and install the default version for the current programming environment.


Parmetis can be installed in via the same mechanism as Metis:

$ ./sh/tpsl/ --prefix=/path/to/install/location
The Metis package should be installed first (as above) using the same location. See the Archer2 repository for further details and options.