Ready-to-use Kwant packages are available for many platforms (like GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows). See the installation page of the Kwant website for instructions on how to install Kwant on your platform. This is the recommended way for new users.
The remainder of this section documents how to build Kwant from source. This information is mostly of interest to contributors and packagers.
Source distributions of Kwant (and Tinyarray) are available at the downloads section of the Kwant website as well as PyPI. The sources may be also cloned directly from the official Kwant git repository.
An environment which allows to compile Python extensions written in C and C++.
MUMPS, a sparse linear algebra library that will in many cases speed up Kwant several times and reduce the memory footprint. (Kwant uses only the sequential, single core version of MUMPS. The advantages due to MUMPS as used by Kwant are thus independent of the number of CPU cores of the machine on which Kwant runs.)
The py.test testing framework 3.3.2 or newer for running the tests included with Kwant.
In addition, to build a copy of Kwant that has been checked-out directly from version control, you will also need Cython 0.26.1 or newer. You do not need Cython to build Kwant that has been unpacked from a source .tar.gz-file.
Kwant can be built and installed following the usual Python conventions by running the following commands in the root directory of the Kwant distribution.
python3 setup.py build python3 setup.py install
Depending on your system, you might have to run the second command with
administrator privileges (e.g. prefixing it with
After installation, tests can be run with:
python3 -c 'import kwant; kwant.test()'
The tutorial examples can be found in the directory
tutorial inside the root
directory of the Kwant source distribution.
(Cython will be run automatically when the source tree has been checked out of
version control. Kwant tarballs include the Cython-generated files, and
cythonization is disabled when building not from git. If ever necessary, this
default can be overridden by giving the
--cython option to setup.py.)
Kwant contains several extension modules. The compilation and linking of these
modules can be configured by editing a build configuration file. By default,
this file is
build.conf in the root directory of the Kwant distribution. A
different path may be provided using the
This configuration file consists of
sections, one for each extension module that is contained in Kwant, led by a
[section name] header and followed by
key = value lines.
The sections bear the names of the extension modules, for example
[kwant.operator]. There can be also a
[DEFAULT] section that provides default values for all extensions, also
those not explicitly present in the file.
Possible keys are the keyword arguments for
distutils.core.Extension (For a
complete list, see its documentation).
The corresponding values are whitespace-separated lists of strings.
build.conf for compiling Kwant with C assertions and Cython’s line
[DEFAULT] undef_macros = NDEBUG define_macros = CYTHON_TRACE=1
Kwant can optionally be linked against MUMPS. The main
application of build configuration is adopting the build process to the various
deployments of MUMPS. MUMPS will be not linked
against by default, except on Debian-based systems when the package
libmumps-scotch-dev is installed.
[kwant.linalg._mumps] may be used to adapt the build process.
(For simplicity and backwards compatibility,
[mumps] is an aliases for the above.)
[mumps] libraries = zmumps mumps_common pord metis esmumps scotch scotcherr mpiseq gfortran
The detailed syntax of
build.conf is explained in the documentation of
Python’s configparser module.
To build the documentation, the Sphinx documentation generator is required with
(version 0.5 or newer), as well as
jupyter-sphinx (version 0.2 or newer).
If PDF documentation is to be built, the tools
from the libRSVG
librsvg2-bin) and a Sphinx extension
sphinxcontrib-svg2pdfconverter are needed to convert SVG drawings into the
As a prerequisite for building the documentation, Kwant must have been built
python3 setup.py build as described above (or Kwant must
be already installed in Python’s search path). HTML documentation is built by
doc subdirectory of the Kwant package and executing
html. PDF documentation is generated by executing
make latex followed
make all-pdf in
Because of some quirks of how Sphinx works, it might be necessary to execute
make clean between building HTML and PDF documentation. If this is not
done, Sphinx may mistakenly use PNG files for PDF output or other problems may
Kwant should run on all recent Unix-like systems. The following instructions
have been verified to work on Debian 8 (Jessie) or newer, and on Ubuntu 14.04 or
newer. For other distributions step 1 will likely have to be adapted. If
sudo is not available, the respective command must be run as
Install the required packages. On Debian-based systems like Ubuntu this can be done by running the command
sudo apt-get install python3-dev python3-setuptools python3-scipy python3-matplotlib python3-pytest python3-sympy g++ gfortran libmumps-scotch-dev
Unpack Tinyarray, enter its directory. To build and install, run
python3 setup.py build sudo python3 setup.py install
Inside the Kwant source distribution’s root directory run
python3 setup.py build sudo python3 setup.py install
By default the package will be installed under
setup.py --help install for installation options.
Our efforts to compile Kwant on Windows using only free software (MinGW) were only moderately successful. At the end of a very complicated process we obtained packages that worked, albeit unreliably. As the only recommended way to compile Python extensions on Windows is using Visual C++, it may well be that there exists no easy solution.
It is possible to compile Kwant on Windows using non-free compilers, however we (the authors of Kwant) have no experience with this. The existing Windows binary installers of Kwant and Tinyarray were kindly prepared by Christoph Gohlke.