Quick linux install instructions

In brief, go to the github page and follow instructions to download the source (eg see the green button). Make sure you have packages fftw3 and fftw3-devel installed. Then cd into your FINUFFT directory and make test. This should compile the static library in lib-static/, some C++ test drivers in test/, then run them, printing some terminal output ending in:

0 crashes out of 5 tests done

If this fails see the more detailed instructions below. If it succeeds, run make lib and proceed to link to the library. Alternatively, try one of our precompiled linux and OSX binaries. Type make to see a list of other aspects to build (language interfaces, etc). Consider installing numdiff as below to allow make test to perform a better accuracy check. Please read Usage and look in examples/ and test/ for other usage examples.


This library is fully supported for unix/linux and almost fully on Mac OSX. We have also heard that it can be compiled under Windows using MinGW; we also suggest trying within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

For the basic libraries you need

  • C++ compiler, such as g++ packaged with GCC, or clang with OSX
  • FFTW3
  • GNU make


  • numdiff (preferred but not essential; enables better pass-fail accuracy validation)
  • for Fortran wrappers: compiler such as gfortran
  • for matlab/octave wrappers: MATLAB, or octave and its development libraries
  • for the python wrappers you will need python and pip (if you are stuck on python v2), or python3 and pip3 (for the standard python v3). You will also need pybind11
  • for rebuilding new matlab/octave wrappers (experts only): mwrap

Tips for installing dependencies on linux

On a Fedora/CentOS linux system, dependencies can be installed as follows:

sudo yum install make gcc gcc-c++ gcc-gfortran fftw3 fftw3-devel libgomp octave octave-devel


we are not exactly sure how to install python3 and pip3 using yum

Alternatively, on Ubuntu linux (assuming python3 as opposed to python):

sudo apt-get install make build-essential libfftw3-dev gfortran numdiff python3 python3-pip octave liboctave-dev

For any linux flavor see below for the optional numdiff (and very optional mwrap). You should then compile via the various make tasks.


GCC versions on linux. Rather than using the default GCC which may be as old as 4.8 or 5.4 on current linux systems, we strongly recommend you compile with a recent GCC version such as GCC 7.3 (which we used benchmarks in our SISC paper), or GCC 9.2.1. We do not recommend GCC versions prior to 7. We also do not recommend GCC8 since its auto vectorization has worsened, and its kernel evaluation rate using the default looped piecewise-polynomial Horner code drops to less than 150 Meval/s/core on an i7. This contrasts 400-700 Meval/s/core achievable with GCC7 or GCC9 on i7. If you wish to test these raw kernel evaluation rates, do into devel\, compile test_ker_ppval.cpp and run fig_speed_ker_ppval.m in MATLAB. We are unsure if GCC8 is poor in Mac OSX (see below).

Tips for installing dependencies and compiling on Mac OSX


Improved Mac OSX instructions, and possibly a brew package, will come shortly. Stay tuned. The below has been tested on 10.14 (Mojave) with both clang and gcc-8.

First you’ll want to set up Homebrew, as follows. If you don’t have Xcode, install Command Line Tools (this is only around 130 MB in contrast to the full 6 GB size of Xcode), by opening a terminal (from /Applications/Utilities/) and typing:

xcode-select --install

You will be asked for an administrator password. Then, also as an administrator, install Homebrew by pasting the installation command from

Then do:

brew install libomp fftw

This happens to also install the latest GCC, which is 8.2.0 in our tests.


There are two options for compilers: 1) the native clang which works with octave but will not so far allow you to link against fortran applications, or 2) GCC, which will allow fortran linking with gfortran, but currently fails with octave.

First the clang route, which is the default. Once you have downloaded FINUFFT, to set up for this, do:


This gives you compile flags that should work with make test and other tasks. Optionally, install numdiff as below. Then for python (note that pip is not installed with the default python v2):

brew install python3
pip3 install numpy pybind11
make python3

This should generate the finufftpy module (and finufftpy_cpp which it depends on). However, we have found that it may fail with an error about -lstdc++, in which case you should try setting an environment variable:


We have also found that running:

pip3 install .

in the command line can work even when make python3 does not (probably to do with environment variables). Octave interfaces work out of the box:

brew install octave
make octave

Look in*, and see below, for ideas for building MATLAB MEX interfaces.

Alternatively, here’s the GCC route, which we have also tested on Movaje:


You must now by hand edit, changing gcc to gcc-8 and g++ to g++-8. Then proceed as above with python3. make fortran in addition to the above (apart from octave) should now work.


Choosing GCC-8 in OSX there is a problem with octave MEX compilation. Please help if you can!

General notes about compilation and tests

We first describe compilation for default options (double precision, openmp) via GCC. If you have a nonstandard unix environment (eg a Mac) or want to change the compiler, then place your compiler and linking options in a new file For example such files see*. See the text of makefile for discussion of what can be overridden.

Compile and do a rapid (less than 1-second) test of FINUFFT via:

make test

This should compile the main libraries then run tests which should report zero crashes and zero fails. (If numdiff is absent, it instead produces output only about crashes; you will have to check by eye that accuracy is as expected.) Note that the very first test run is test/finufft1d_basicpassfail which does include a low-accuracy math test, producing the exit code 0 if success, nonzero if fail. You can check the exit code thus:

test/finufft1d_basicpassfail; echo $?

Use make perftest for larger spread/interpolation and NUFFT tests taking 10-20 seconds. This writes into test/results/ where you will be able to compare to results from standard CPUs.

Run make without arguments for full list of possible make tasks.

make examples to compile and run the examples for calling from C++ and from C.

The examples and test directories are good places to see usage examples.

make fortran to compile and run the fortran wrappers and examples.

Note that the library includes fortran interfaces defined in fortran/finufft_f.h.

If there is an error in testing on a standard set-up, please file a bug report as a New Issue at

Custom library compilation options

You may want to make the library for other data types. Currently library names are distinct for single precision (libfinufftf) vs double (libfinufft). However, single-threaded vs multithreaded are built with the same name, so you will have to move them to other locations, or build a 2nd copy of the repo, if you want to keep both versions.

You must do at least make objclean before changing precision or openmp options.

Single precision: append PREC=SINGLE to the make task. Single-precision saves half the RAM, and increases speed slightly (<20%). The C++, C, and fortran demos are all tested in single precision. However, it will break matlab, octave, python interfaces.

Single-threaded: append OMP=OFF to the make task.

Building MATLAB/octave wrappers, including in Mac OSX

make matlab to build the MEX interface to matlab.

make octave to build the MEX-like interface to octave.

We have had success in Mac OSX Mojave compiling the octave wrapper out of the box. For MATLAB, the MEX settings may need to be overridden: edit the file mex_C++_maci64.xml in the MATLAB distro, to read, for instance:

CFLAGS="-ansi -D_GNU_SOURCE -fexceptions -fPIC -fno-omit-frame-pointer -pthread"
CXXFLAGS="-ansi -D_GNU_SOURCE -fPIC -fno-omit-frame-pointer -pthread"
These settings are copied from the glnxa64 case. Here you will want to replace the compilers by whatever version of GCC you have installed, eg via brew,
or the default gcc/g++ that are aliased to clang.

For pre-2016 MATLAB Mac OSX versions you’ll instead want to edit the maci64 section of

Building the python wrappers

First make sure you have python3 and pip3 (or python and pip) installed and that you can already compile the C++ library (eg via make lib). Python links to this compiled library. You will get an error unless you first compile the static library. Next make sure you have NumPy and pybind11 installed:

pip3 install numpy pybind11

You may then do make python3 which calls pip3 for the install then runs some tests. An additional test you could do is:

python3 python_tests/

In all the above, the suffix “3” should be omitted if you either want to work with python v2, or you are using a virtual python environment (see below).

See also Dan Foreman-Mackey’s earlier repo that also wraps finufft, and from which we have drawn code: python-finufft

A few words about python environments

There can be confusion and conflicts between various versions of python and installed packages. It is therefore a very good idea to use virtual environments. Here’s a simple way to do it (after installing python-virtualenv):

Open a terminal
virtualenv -p /usr/bin/python3 env1
. env1/bin/activate

Now you are in a virtual environment that starts from scratch. All pip installed packages will go inside the env1 directory. (You can get out of the environment by typing deactivate). Also see documentation for conda. You then should use make python instead of make python3 in the above.

Tips for installing optional dependencies

Installing numdiff

numdiff by Ivano Primi extends diff to assess errors in floating-point outputs. It is an optional dependency that provides a better pass-fail test; in particular it allows the accuracy check message 0 fails out of 5 tests done when make test is done for FINUFFT. To install numdiff on linux, download the latest version from un-tar the package, cd into it, then build via ./configure; make; sudo make install.

This compilation fails on Mac OSX, for which we found the following was needed in Mojave. Assume you un-tarred into /usr/local/numdiff-5.9.0. Then:

brew install gettext
./configure 'CFLAGS=-I/usr/local/opt/gettext/include' 'LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/opt/gettext/lib'
sudo ln /usr/local/numdiff-5.9.0/numdiff /usr/local/bin

You should now be able to run make test in FINUFFT and get the second message about zero fails.

Installing MWrap

This is not needed for most users. MWrap is a very useful MEX interface generator by Dave Bindel. Make sure you have flex and bison installed. Download version 0.33 or later from, un-tar the package, cd into it, then:

sudo cp mwrap /usr/local/bin/