Contributions to the development of Smilei are welcome.

  • Chatroom for discussion and sharing.

  • GitHub issues for bugs and requests.

  • Develop new features (clone the repository clicking the “fork” button the GitHub page so you can then make a pull request to integrate them in the main repository).

Guidelines for new developments are:

  • Write clear, commented code, or self-explanatory.

  • Write the documentation corresponding to the new features, if any.

  • Make validation cases, and reference data, corresponding to the added features.

Add my publication to the list on Smilei’s website

You can easily add your paper to the Publications.

  • On GitHub, edit the file material.rst. and add a few lines such as:

    .. [MyNameYEAR]
        M. Name, A. Collaborator and B. Collaborator,
        `Title of my paper`,
        `Reference of the Paper <https://link/to/the/paper>`_,
        `arXiv:xxxx.xxxx <>`_
  • Make a pull request to share your update.

Write documentation

The documentation you are currently reading is written in the reStructuredText (rST) language, and included in the main Smilei repository. This is a fairly simple markup language. You can see examples from the source files, which are located in the doc/Sphinx folder and have the extension .rst.

To transform it into an html website, it is processed using the sphinx python package that you may have to install. If you have sphinx installed, you may simply go to the main Smilei folder from a command line terminal, then run the command

make doc

This creates a local html website accessible in the build/html/ folder. Simply open the build/html/index.html file in your favorite web browser.

To document a new feature, please modify the file namelist.rst to indicate the syntax changes in the input file. If the feature requires detailed physical or numerical background, you may add a new page in the “Understand” section of the website. To do that, create a new .rst file, then reference it in the table of contents located in index.rst.

Validate your changes

Smilei has a system of test cases combined with reference results that must be validated, ideally, for every push submitted to the git repository. These test cases are located in the benchmarks/ folder.

Each benchmark has an associated validation file, written in python, which contains instructions on how to produce an analysis of the results that can validate that particular benchmark. The validation files are located in the validation/analyses/ folder. They have the same name as the benchmarks, with the prefix validate_.

Once a benchmark has been run, the corresponding validate_* file is run in python to compare the analysis results with a reference file located in the folder validation/references/. Note that the analysis produced by the validate_* file can also be used to generate the reference file the first time.

When you code a new feature, you must provide a new benchmark, the corresponding analysis and reference file

To make this process easier, a python script is available.

How do I use the script?

The script validation/ can do three things:

  • generate validation reference(s) for given benchmark(s)

  • compare benchmark(s) to their reference(s)

  • show visually differences between benchmark(s) and their reference(s)


python [-c] [-h] [-v] [-o <nOMP>] [-m <nMPI>] [-b <bench> [-g | -s]] [-r <nRestarts>] [-t <max_time>]
  • Option -b <bench>:
    <bench> : benchmark(s) to validate. Accepts wildcards.
    <bench>=? : ask input for a benchmark
    DEFAULT : All benchmarks are validated.
  • Option -o <nOMP>:
    <nOMP> : number of OpenMP threads used for the execution
    DEFAULT : 4
  • Option -m <nMPI>:
    <nMPI> : number of MPI processes used for the execution
    DEFAULT : 4
  • Option -g: Generation of references only (no validation)

  • Option -s: Plot differences with references only (no validation)

  • Option -c: Compilation only (no run, no validation)

  • Option -r <nRrestarts>: Force the simulation to be broken in several restarts

  • Option -v: Verbose

  • Option -h: Help

  • Option -t <max_time>: maximum wall time (format "hh:mm:ss")

Exit status of the script:

  • 0 validated

  • 1 validation fails

  • 2 execution fails

  • 3 compilation fails

  • 4 bad option


./ -v

Compiles and validates all cases in verbose mode.

./ -v -b

Validates only the benchmark

./ -v -b -g

Generates the reference file for the benchmark

./ -v -b -s

Runs the benchmark, and plots the differences with the reference file.

What does actually do?

It creates a new validation/workdirs directory (that may be freely deleted later).

It compiles the code:

If the “workdirs” directory lacks a smilei binary, or it is too old, then the “workdirs” is backed up, and a new compilation occurs. The compilation output is logged in compilation_output. If compiling errors occur, compilation_errors is created and the script exits with status 3.

It runs each benchmark:

If the directory wd_<benchmark>/<o>/<m> does not exist then:

  • it is created.

  • smilei is executed in that directory for the requested benchmark.

  • if execution fails, the script exits with status 2.

It analyses the results (for each requested benchmark) using the validate_* script:

  • If requested to compare to previous references (default option), the analysis is compared to the reference data.

  • If requested to generate references (option -g), the analysis is stored as reference data.

  • If requested to show differences to previous references (option -s), the analysis is plotted vs. the reference data.

How should I make the validate_* script?

The validate_* script should load the simulation results using whatever means suits the benchmark the best. In many cases, the happi module is employed to extract diagnostics results.

Any python instructions may be used to process the simulation results. Once the data has been crunched into a meaningful value, string, or array, then it must be passed to the following predefined function:

Validate(description, data, epsilon)
  • description: a string describing the data

  • data: a float, a numpy float array, or any other python data

  • epsilon (optional): acceptable difference between data and reference

The data passed to this function constitutes the analysis that is compared to previous reference files. It is the same analysis that is used to generate those reference files in the first place.