Install from source (developer install)

This page describes the build and installation of PyBaMM from the source code, available on GitHub. Note that this is not the recommended approach for most users and should be reserved to people wanting to participate in the development of PyBaMM, or people who really need to use bleeding-edge feature(s) not yet available in the latest released version. If you do not fall in the two previous categories, you would be better off installing PyBaMM using pip or conda.

Lastly, familiarity with the python ecosystem is recommended (pip, virtualenvs). Here is a gentle introduction/refresher: Python Virtual Environments: A Primer.


The following instructions are valid for both GNU/Linux distributions and MacOS. If you are running Windows, consider using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

To obtain the PyBaMM source code, clone the GitHub repository

git clone

or download the source archive on the repository’s homepage.

To install PyBaMM, you will need:

  • Python 3 (PyBaMM supports versions 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9)

  • The python headers file for your current python version.

  • A BLAS library (for instance openblas).

  • A C compiler (ex: gcc).

  • A Fortran compiler (ex: gfortran).

On Ubuntu, you can install the above with

sudo apt install python3.X python3.X-dev libopenblas-dev gcc gfortran

Where X is the version sub-number.

On MacOS,

brew install python openblas gcc gfortran

Finally, we recommend using Tox. You can install it with

python3.X -m pip install --user tox

Depending on your operating system, you may or may not have pip installed along python. If pip is not found, you probably want to install the python3-pip package.

Installing the build-time requirements

PyBaMM comes with a DAE solver based on the IDA solver provided by the SUNDIALS library. To use this solver, you must make sure that you have the necessary SUNDIALS components installed on your system.

The IDA-based solver is currently unavailable on windows. If you are running windows, you can simply skip this section and jump to Installing PyBaMM.

Manual install of build time requirements

If you’d rather do things yourself,

  1. Make sure you have CMake installed

  2. Compile and install SuiteSparse (PyBaMM only requires the KLU component).

  3. Compile and install SUNDIALS.

  4. Clone the pybind11 repository in the PyBaMM/ directory (make sure the directory is named pybind11).

PyBaMM ships with a python script that automates points 2. and 3. You can run it with

python scripts/

Installing PyBaMM

You should now have everything ready to build and install PyBaMM successfully.

Manual install

From the PyBaMM/ directory, you can install PyBaMM using python install or

pip install .

If you intend to contribute to the development of PyBaMM, it is convenient to install in “editable mode”, along with useful tools for development and documentation:

pip install -e .[dev,docs]

Running the tests

Using Tox (recommended)

You can use Tox to run the unit tests and example notebooks in isolated virtual environments.

The default command

tox -e tests # (GNU/Linux and MacOS)
python -m tox -e windows-tests # (Windows)

will run the full test suite (integration and unit tests). This can take several minutes.

Is is often sufficient to run the unit tests only. To do so, use

tox -e unit # (GNU/Linux and MacOS)
python -m tox -e windows-unit # (Windows)

Using the test runner

You can run unit tests for PyBaMM using

# in the PyBaMM/ directory
python --unit

The above starts a sub-process using the current python interpreter (i.e. using your current python environment) and run the unit tests. This can take a few minutes.

You can also use the test runner to run the doctests:

python --doctest

There is more to the PyBaMM test runner. To see a list of all options, type

python --help

How to build the PyBaMM documentation

The documentation is built using

tox -e docs

This will build the documentation and serve it locally (thanks to sphinx-autobuild) for preview. The preview will be updated automatically following changes.

Doctests, examples, style and coverage

  • tox -e examples: Run the example scripts in examples/scripts.

  • tox -e flake8: Check for PEP8 compliance.

  • tox -e doctests: Run doctests.

  • tox -e coverage: Measure current test coverage.

Note for Windows users

If you are running Windows, the following tox commands must be prefixed by windows-:

  • tests

  • unit

  • examples

  • doctests

  • dev

For example, to run the full test suite on Windows you would type:

python -m tox -e windows-tests