Downloading the Code

The source code is available at The GitHub repo is our central repo for development. The development branch includes the latest state of the code, and it is tagged as a release on a monthly basis with version number YY.MM (e.g., 17.04). The MM part of the version is incremented every month, and the YY part every year. Bug fix releases are tagged with YY.MM.patch (e.g., 17.04.1).

AMReX can also be obtained using Spack ( Assuming you have Spack installed, simply type, spack install amrex. For more information see the Spack section in Building AMReX.

Example: Hello World

The source code of this example is at amrex-tutorials/ExampleCodes/Basic/HelloWorld_C/ and is also shown below.

#include <AMReX.H>
#include <AMReX_Print.H>

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
    amrex::Print() << "Hello world from AMReX version "
                   << amrex::Version() << "\n";

The main body of this short example contains three statements. Usually the first and last statements for the int main(...) function of every program should be calling amrex::Initialize and amrex::Finalize, respectively. The second statement calls amrex::Print to print out a string that includes the AMReX version returned by the amrex::Version function. The example code includes two AMReX header files. Note that the name of all AMReX header files starts with AMReX_ (or just AMReX in the case of AMReX.H). All AMReX C++ functions are in the amrex namespace.

Building the Code

You build the code in the amrex-tutorials/ExampleCodes/Basic/HelloWorld_C/ directory. Typing make will start the compilation process and result in an executable named main3d.gnu.DEBUG.ex. The name shows that the GNU compiler with debug options set by AMReX is used. It also shows that the executable is built for 3D. Although this simple example code is dimension independent, dimensionality does matter for all non-trivial examples. The build process can be adjusted by modifying the amrex-tutorials/ExampleCodes/Basic/HelloWorld_C/GNUmakefile file. More details on how to build AMReX can be found in Building AMReX.

Running the Code

The example code can be run as follows,


The result may look like,

AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) initialized
Hello world from AMReX version 17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) finalized

The version string means the current commit 5775aed933c4 (note that the first letter g in g577.. is not part of the hash) is based on 17.05 with 30 additional commits and the AMReX work tree is dirty (i.e. there are uncommitted changes).

In the GNUmakefile there are compilation options for DEBUG mode (less optimized code with more error checking), dimensionality, compiler type, and flags to enable MPI and/or OpenMP parallelism. If there are multiple instances of a parameter, the last instance takes precedence.


Now let’s build with MPI by typing make USE_MPI=TRUE (alternatively you can set USE_MPI=TRUE in the GNUmakefile). This should make an executable named main3d.gnu.DEBUG.MPI.ex. Note MPI in the file name. You can then run,

mpiexec -n 4 ./main3d.gnu.DEBUG.MPI.ex amrex.v=1

The result may look like,

MPI initialized with 4 MPI processes
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) initialized
Hello world from AMReX version 17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) finalized

If the compilation fails, you are referred to Building AMReX for more details on how to configure the build system. The optional command line argument amrex.v=1 sets the AMReX verbosity level to 1 to print the number of MPI processes used. The default verbosity level is 1, and you can pass amrex.v=0 to turn it off. More details on how runtime parameters are handled can be found in section ParmParse.

If you want to build with OpenMP, type make USE_OMP=TRUE. This should make an executable named main3d.gnu.DEBUG.OMP.ex. Note OMP in the file name. Make sure the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable is set on your system. You can then run,

OMP_NUM_THREADS=4 ./main3d.gnu.DEBUG.OMP.ex

The result may look like,

OMP initialized with 4 OMP threads
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) initialized
Hello world from AMReX version 17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) finalized

Note that you can build with both USE_MPI=TRUE and USE_OMP=TRUE. You can then run,

OMP_NUM_THREADS=4 mpiexec -n 2 ./main3d.gnu.DEBUG.MPI.OMP.ex

The result may look like,

MPI initialized with 2 MPI processes
OMP initialized with 4 OMP threads
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) initialized
Hello world from AMReX version 17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty
AMReX (17.05-30-g5775aed933c4-dirty) finalized

Example: Heat Equation Solver

We now look at a more complicated example at amrex-tutorials/ExampleCodes/Basic/HeatEquation_EX1_C and show how simulation results can be visualized. This example solves the heat equation,

\[\frac{\partial\phi}{\partial t} = \nabla^2\phi\]

using forward Euler temporal integration on a periodic domain. We could use a 5-point (in 2D) or 7-point (in 3D) stencil, but for demonstration purposes we spatially discretize the PDE by first constructing (negative) fluxes on cell faces, e.g.,

\[F_{i+^1\!/_2,\,j} = \frac{\phi_{i+1,j}-\phi_{i,j}}{\Delta x},\]

and then taking the divergence to update the cells,

\[\phi_{i,\,j}^{n+1} = \phi_{i,\,j}^n + \frac{\Delta t}{\Delta x}\left(F_{i+^1\!/_2,\,j}-F_{i-^1\!/_2,\,j}\right) + \frac{\Delta t}{\Delta y}\left(F_{i,\,j+^1\!/_2}-F_{i,\,j-^1\!/_2}\right)\]

The implementation details of the code are discussed in the Heat Equation example section of the Guided Tutorials. For now let’s just build and run the code, and visualize the results.

Building and Running the Code

To build a 2D executable, go to amrex-tutorials/ExampleCodes/Basic/HeatEquation_EX1_C/Exec and type make DIM=2. This will generate an executable named main2d.gnu.ex. To run it, type,

./main2d.gnu.ex inputs_2d

Note that the command takes a file inputs_2d. The calculation solves the heat equation in 2D on a domain with \(256 \times 256\) cells. It runs \(10,000\) steps and makes a plotfile every \(1,000\) steps. When the run finishes, you will have a number of plotfiles, plt00000, plt01000, etc, in the directory where you are running. You can control runtime parameters such as how many time steps to run and how often to write plotfiles by setting them in inputs_2d.


There are several visualization tools that can be used for AMReX plotfiles. One standard tool used within the AMReX-community is Amrvis, a package developed and supported by CCSE that is designed specifically for highly efficient visualization of block-structured hierarchical AMR data. (Amrvis can also be used to visualize performance data; see the AMReX-based Profiling Tools chapter for further details.) Plotfiles can also be viewed using the VisIt, ParaView, and yt packages. Particle data can be viewed using ParaView. Refer to Chapter on Visualization for how to use each of these tools.

Guided Tutorials

Users new to AMReX may be interested in following the Guided Tutorials. The Guided Tutorials are designed to provide an introduction to AMReX features by focusing on key concepts in a progressive way.

Example Codes

To assist users we have multiple example codes introducing AMReX functionality. They range from HelloWorld walk-thrus to stand-alone examples of complex features in practice. To access the available examples, please see AMReX Guided Tutorials and Example Codes.