Running Fleur

Here we deal with the question of how to run FLEUR "by hand". If you are interested in running FLEUR in a scripting environment you might want to check the AiiDA plug-in.

At first you might notice that there are several executables created in the build process. You might find:

In most cases you will first run the input generator to create an inp.xml.

The FLEUR input generator

For those, who think that the Fleur inp.xml is too complicated, contains too many options or a too complex format, or those in need for defaults for their calculation, a inp-file generator is provided.

The inpgen executable takes a simplified input file and generates defaults for:

In general the input generator does not know:

You have to modify your inp.xml file accordingly. Depending on your demands, you might want to change something else, e.g. the XC-functional, the switches for relaxation, use LDA+U etc. ...

Running inpgen

To call the input generator you tyically do

inpgen <simple_file

So please note that the program expects its input from the standard-input.

The inpgen executable accepts a few command-line options. In particular you might find usefull

Option Description
-h list off all options
-explicit Some input data that is typically not directly provided in the inp.xml file is now generated. This includes a list of k points and a list of symmetry operations.

Basic input

Your input should contain (in this order):


Your title cannot begin with an & and should not contain an ! . Apart from that, you can specify any 80-character string you like.

Input switches

The namelist input should start with an &input and end with a / . Possible switches are:

switch description
film=[t,f] if .true., assume film calculation (not necessary if dvac is specified)
cartesian=[t,f] if .true., input is given in scaled Cartesian units,
if .false., it is assumed to be in internal (lattice) units
cal_symm=[t,f] if .true., calculate space group symmetry,
if .false., read in space group symmetry info (file 'sym')
checkinp=[t,f] if .true., program reads input and stops
inistop=[t,f] if .true., program stops after input file generation (not used now)
symor=[t,f] if .true., largest symmorphic subgroup is selected
oldfleur=[t,f] if .true., only 2D symmetry elements (+I,m_z) are accepted

An example (including the title):

 3 layer Fe film, p(2x2) unit cell, p4mg reconstruction

 &input symor=t oldfleur=t / 

Lattice information

There are two possibilities to input the lattice information: either you specify the Bravais matrix (plus scaling information) or the Bravais lattice and the required information (axis lengths and angles).

First variant:

The first 3 lines give the 3 lattice vectors; they are in scaled Cartesian coordinates. Then an overall scaling factor (aa) is given in a single line and independent (x,y,z) scaling is specified by scale(3) in a following line. For film calculations, the vacuum distance dvac is given in one line together with a3.

Example: tetragonal lattice for a film calculation:

  1.0  0.0  0.0        ! a1
  0.0  1.0  0.0        ! a2
  0.0  0.0  1.0  0.9   ! a3 and dvac
  4.89                 ! aa (lattice constant)
  1.0  1.0  1.5        ! scale(1),scale(2),scale(3)

The overall scale is set by aa and scale(:) as follows: assume that we want the lattice vectors to be given by

 a_i = ( a_i(1) xa , a_i(2) xb , a_i(3) xc ) 

then choose aa, scale such that: xa = aa * scale(1)), etc. To make it easy to input sqrts, if scale(i)<0, then scale = sqrt(|scale|) Example: hexagonal lattice

      a1 = ( sqrt(3)/2 a , -1/2 a , 0.      )
      a2 = ( sqrt(3)/2 a ,  1/2 a , 0.      )
      a3 = ( 0.          , 0.     , c=1.62a ) 

You could specify the following:

       0.5  -0.5  0.0     ! a1
       0.5   0.5  0.0     ! a2
       0.0   0.0  1.0     ! a3
       6.2                ! lattice constant
      -3.0   0.0  1.62    ! scale(2) is 1 by default

Second variant:

Alternatively, you may specify the lattice name and its parameters in a namelist input, e.g.

 &lattice latsys='tP' a=4.89 c=6.9155 /

The following arguments are implemented: latsys, a0 (default: 1.0), a, b (default: a), c (default: a), alpha (90 degree), beta (90 degree), gamma (90 degree). Hereby, latsys can be chosen from the following table (intended to work for all entries, up to now not all lattices work). a0 is the overall scaling factor.

full name No short other_possible_names Description Variants
simple-cubic 1 cub cP, sc cubic-P
face-centered-cubic 2 fcc cF, fcc cubic-F
body-centered-cubic 3 bcc cI, bcc cubic-I
hexagonal 4 hcp hP, hcp hexagonal-P (15)
rhombohedral 5 rho hr, r,R hexagonal-R (16)
simple-tetragonal 6 tet tP, st tetragonal-P
body-centered-tetragonal 7 bct tI, bct tetragonal-I
simple-orthorhombic 8 orP oP orthorhombic-P
face-centered-orthorhombic 9 orF oF orthorhombic-F
body-centered-orthorhombic 10 orI oI orthorhombic-I
base-centered-orthorhombic 11 orC oC, oS orthorhombic-C, orthorhombic-S (17,18)
simple-monoclinic 12 moP mP monoclinic-P
centered-monoclinic 13 moC mC monoclinic-C (19,20)
triclinic 14 tcl aP
full name No short other_possible_names Description
hexagonal2 15 hdp hexagonal-2 (60 degree angle)
rhombohedral2 16 trg hR2,r2,R2 hexagonal-R2
base-centered-orthorhombic2 17 orA oA orthorhombic-A (centering on A)
base-centered-orthorhombic3 18 orB oB orthorhombic-B (centering on B)
centered-monoclinic2 19 moA mA monoclinic-A (centering on A)
centered-monoclinic3 20 moB mB monoclinic-B (centering on B)

You should give the independent lattice parameters a,b,c and angles alpha,beta,gamma as far as required.

Atom information

First you give the number of atoms in a single line. If this number is negative, then we assume that only the representative atoms are given; this requires that the space group symmetry be given as input (see below).

Following are, for each atom in a line, the atomic identification number and the position. The identification number is used later as default for the nuclear charge (Z) of the atom. (When all atoms are specified and the symmetry has to be found, the program will try to relate all atoms of the same identifier by symmetry. If you want to manipulate specific atoms later (e.g. change the spin-quantization axis) you have to give these atoms different identifiers. Since they can be non-integer, you can e.g. specify 26.01 and 26.02 for two inequivalent Fe atoms, only the integer part will be used as Z of the atom.)

The input of the atomic positions can be either in scaled Cartesian or lattice vector units, as determined by logical cartesian (see above). For supercells, sometimes more natural to input positions in scaled Cartesian.

A possible input (for CsCl ) would be:

 55 0.0 0.0 0.0
 17 0.5 0.5 0.5 

or, for a p4g reconstructed Fe trilayer specifying the symmetry:

 26 0.00 0.00 0.0 
 26 0.18 0.32 2.5 

 &gen         3

   -1    0    0        0.00000
    0   -1    0        0.00000
    0    0   -1        0.00000

    0   -1    0        0.00000
    1    0    0        0.00000
    0    0    1        0.00000

   -1    0    0        0.50000
    0    1    0        0.50000
    0    0    1        0.00000 /

Here, &gen indicates, that just the generators are listed (the 3×3 block is the rotation matrix [only integers], the floating numbers denote the shift); if you like to specify all symmetry elements, you should start with &sym. You have furthermore the possibility to specify a global shift of coordinates with e.g.

 &shift 0.5 0.5 0.5 /

or, to introduce additional scaling factors

 &factor 3.0 3.0 1.0 /

by which your atomic positions will be divided (the name "factor" is thus slightly counterintuitive).

Ending an input file

If inpgen.x should stop reading the file earlier (e.g. you have some comments below in the file) or if inpgen.x fails to recognize the end of the input file (which happens with some compilers), one can use the following line:

&end /

Special cases

Film calculations

In the case of a film calculation, the surface normal is always chosen in z-direction. A two-dimensional Bravais lattice correspond then to the three-dimensional one according to the following table:

lattice description
square primitive tetragonal
primitive rectangular primitive orthorhombic
centered rectangular base centered orthorhombic
hexagonal hexagonal
oblique monoclinic

The z-coordinates of all atoms have to be specified in Cartesian units (a.u.), since there is no lattice in the third dimension, to which these values could be referred. Since the vacuum boundaries will be chosen symmetrically around the z=0 plane (i.e. -dvac/2 and dvac/2), the atoms should also be placed symmetrically around this plane.

The initial values specified for a3 and dvac (i.e. the third dimension, see above) will be adjusted automatically so that all atoms fit in the unit cell. This only works if the atoms have been placed symmetrically around the z=0 plane.

Spin-spiral or SOC

If you intend a spin-spiral calculation, or to include spin-orbit coupling, this can affect the symmetry of your system:

Therefore, we need to specify either q or the SQA, e.g.:

 &qss 0.0 0.0 0.1 /

(the 3 numbers are the x,y,z components of q) to specify a spin-spiral in z-direction, or

 &soc 1.5708 0.0 /

(the 2 numbers are theta and phi of the SQA) to indicate that the SQA is in x-direction.

Be careful if symmetry operations that are compatible with the chosen q-vector relate two atoms in your structure, they also will have the same SQA in the muffin-tins!

Preset parameters


After you have given general information on your setup, you can specify a number of parameters for one or several atoms that the input-file generator will use while generating the inp file instead of determining the values by itself. The list of parameters for one atom must contain a leading &atom flag and end with a /. You have to specify the atom for which you set the parameters by using the parameter element. If there are more atoms of the same element, you can specify the atom you wish to modify by additionally setting the id tag. All parameters available are

parameter description
id=[atomic identification number] identifies the atom you wish to modify.
z=[charge number] specifies the charge number of the atom.
rmt=[muffin-tin radius] specifies a muffin-tin radius for the atom to modify.
dx=[log increment] specifies the logarithmic increment of the radial mesh for the atom to modify.
jri=[# mesh points] specifies the number of mesh points of the radial mesh for the atom to modify.
lmax=[spherical angular momentum] specifies the maximal spherical angular momentum of the atom to modify.
lnonsph=[nonspherical angular momentum] specifies the maximal angular momentum up to which non-spherical parts are included to quantities of the atom to modify.
ncst=[number of core state] specifies the number of states you wish to include in the core of the atom to modify.
econfig=[core states|valence states] specifies, which states of the atom to modify are put into the core and which are treated as valence states. This is a string. You can use [element name of noble gas] to shorten the list. d and f states will be filled preferring magnetization.
bmu=[magnetic moment] specifies the magnetic moment of the atom to modify.
lo=[list of local orbitals] specifies, which states shall be treated as local orbitals. This is a string.
element=[name of the element] identifies the atom to modify by its element name. This is a string. You must specify this.


You also might want to set more general parameters like the choice of the exchange-correlation potential or the desired reciprocal grid in the Brillouin zone beforehand. Those parameters can be given as a namelist using the &comp, &exco, &film and/or &kpt flag. The corresponding line in the input-file for the input-file generator has to end with a /. All parameters available are, sorted by their affiliation


parameter description
jspins=[number of spins] specifies the number of spins for the calculation.
frcor=[frozen core?] specifies whether or not the frozen-core approximation is used.
ctail=[core-tail correction?] specifies whether or not the core-tail correction is used.
kcrel=[fully-magnetic dirac core?] specifies whether or not the core is treated fully-relativistic.
gmax=[dop PW-cutoff] specifies the plane-wave cutoff for the density and potential Fourier expansion.
gmaxxc=[xc-pot PW-cutoff] specifies the plane-wave cutoff for the exchange-correlation potential Fourier expansion.
kmax=[basis set size] specifies the cutoff up to which plane-waves are included into the basis.


parameter description
xctyp=[xc-potential] specifies the choice of the exchange-correlation potential. This is a string.
relxc=[relativistic?] specifies whether or not relativistic corrections are used.


parameter description
dvac=[vacuum boundary] specifies the vacuum boundary in case of film calculations.
dtild=[z-boundary for 3D-PW box] specifies the z-boundary for the 3D plane-wave box in case of film calculations.


parameter description
nkpt=[number of k-pts] specifies the number of k-points in the IBZ to be used.
div1=[number of k-pts x-direction] specifies the exact number of k-points to be used in the full BZ zone along x-direction (equidistant mesh).
div2=[number of k-pts y-direction] specifies the exact number of k-points to be used in the full BZ zone along y-direction (equidistant mesh).
div3=[number of k-pts z-direction] specifies the exact number of k-points to be used in the full BZ zone along z-direction (equidistant mesh).
tkb=[smearing parameter] specifies a smearing parameter for Gauss- or Fermi-smearing method.
tria=[triangular method] specifies whether or not triangular method shall be used.

Here is an example of an input file for the input file generator of Europium Titanate in which local orbitals are used for the 5s and 5p states of Europium and the muffin-tin radius of one Oxygen atom is manually set. Also, the exchange-correlation potential is chosen to be that of Vosko, Wilk, and Nusair and a k-point mesh is defined for the Brillouin-zone.

```` Europium Titanate Perovskite Structure

&input cartesian=t inistop=t oldfleur=f /

&lattice latsys='sc' a= 7.38 a0= 1.0 /

5 63 0.000 0.000 0.000 08.01 0.000 0.500 0.500 08.02 0.500 0.000 0.500 08.03 0.500 0.500 0.000 22 0.500 0.500 0.500

&atom element="eu" lo="5s 5p" econfig="[Kr] 4d10|4f7 5s2 5p6 6s2" / &atom element="o" id=08.03 rmt=1.17 / &exco xctyp='vwn' / &kpt div1=5 div2=5 div3=5 / ````.md) file. Afterwards you will run fleur or fleur_MPI using this inp.xml file. Please note that fleur/fleur_MPI will always read its setting from an inp.xml file in the current directory.

Command line options

The run-time behaviour of FLEUR can be modified using command line switches. You should understand that these switches modify the way FLEUR might operate or in some cases determine what FLEUR actually does. If you want to change the calculation setup you should modify the inp.xml file.

Here we document the most relevant command line options. For a full list of available options, please run

 fleur -h

General options:

Options controlling the IO of eigenvectors/values: (not all are available if you did not compile with the required libraries)

Options controlling the Diagonalization: (not all are available if you did not compile with the required libraries)

Environment Variables

There are basically two environments variables you might want to change when using FLEUR.


As FLEUR uses OpenMP it is generally a good idea to consider adjusting OMP_NUM_THREADS to use all cores available. While this might happen automatically in you queuing system you should check if you use appropriate values. Check the output of FLEUR to standard out.

So you might want to use export OMP_NUM_THREADS=2 or something similar.


You can use the juDFT variable to set command line switches that do not require an additional argument. For example

export juDFT="-diag elpa"

would run FLEUR with these command line switches.

Hybrid MPI/OpenMP Parallelization

The efficient usage of FLEUR on modern supercomputers is ensured by hybrid MPI/OpenMP parallelization. The k-point loop and the eigenvector problem are parallelized via MPI (Message Passing Interface). In addition to that, every MPI process can be executed on several computer cores with shared memory, using either OpenMP (Open Multi-Processing) interface or multi-threaded libraries.

MPI parallelization

Depending on the specific architecture, one or the other or both levels of parallelization can be used.


k-point Parallelisation

This type of parallelization is always chosen, if the number of k-points (K) is a multiple of the number of MPI processes (P). If K/P is not integer, a mixed parallelization will be attempted and M MPI processes will work on a single k-point, so that K.M/P is integer. This type of parallelization can be very efficient, because all three most time-consuming parts of the code (Hamiltonian matrix setup, diagonalization and generation of the new charge density) are independent for different k-points and there is no need to communicate during the calculation. That is why this type of parallelization is fine, even if the communication between the nodes/processors is slow. The drawback of this type of parallelization is that the whole matrix must fit in the memory available for one MPI process, i.e. sufficient memory per MPI process to solve a single eigenvalue-problem for a k-point is required. The scaling is good, as long as many k-points are calculated and the potential generation does not get a bottleneck. The saturation of the memory bandwidth might cause the deviation of the speedup from the ideal.

Speedup small Typical speedup of the k-point parallelization for a small system (NaCl, 64 atoms, 216 k-points) on a computer cluster (Intel E5-2650V4, 2.2 GHz). Execution time of one iteration is 3 hours 53 minutes.

Eigenvector Parallelization

If the number of k-points is not a multiple of the number of MPI processes, every k-point will be parallelized over several MPI processes. It might be necessary to use this type of parallelization to reduce the memory usage per MPI process, i.e. if the eigenvalue-problem is too large. This type of parallelization depends on external libraries which can solve eigen problem on parallel architectures. The FLEUR code contains interfaces to ScaLAPACK, ELPA and Elemental. It is possible to use HDF library if needed.

Eigenvector parallel
Example of eigenvector parallelization of a calculation with 144 atoms on the CLAIX (Intel E5-2650V4, 2.2 GHz).

An example of FLEUR memory requirements depending on the amount of MPI ranks. Test system: CuAg (256 atoms, 1 k-point). Memory usage was measured on the CLAIX supercomputer (Intel E5-2650V4, 2.2 GHz, 128 GB per node)

OpenMP parallelization

Modern HPC systems are usually cluster systems, i.e. they consist of shared-memory computer nodes connected through a communication network. It is possible to use the distributed-memory paradigm (that means MPI parallelization) also inside the node, but in this case the memory available for every MPI process will be considerably smaller. Imagine you use a node with 24 cores and 120 GB memory. If you start one MPI process it will get all 120 GB, two will only get 60 GB and so on, if you start 24 MPI processes, only 5 GB memory will be available for each of them. The intra-node parallelism can be utilized more efficiently when using shared-memory programming paradigm, for example OpenMP interface. In the FLEUR code the hybrid MPI/OpenMP parallelization is realised either by directly implementing OpenMP pragmas or by usage of multi-threaded libraries. If you want to profit from this type of parallelization, you would need ELPA and multithreaded MKL library.

Timing measurements of the GaAs system (512 atoms) on the CLAIX supercomputer (Intel E5-2650V4, 2.2 GHz, 24 cores per node, 128 GB per node).

Parallel execution: best practices

Since there are several levels of parallelization available in FLEUR: k-point MPI parallelization, eigenvalue MPI parallelization and multi-threaded parallelization, it is not always an easy decision, how to use the available HPC resources in the most effective way: how many nodes does one need, how many MPI processes per node, how many threads per MPI process. First of all, if your system contains several k-point, choose the number of MPI processes accordingly. If the number of k-points (K) is a multiple of the number of MPI processes (P) than every MPI procces will work on a given k-point alone. If K/P is not integer, a mixed parallelization will be attempted and M MPI processes will work on a single k-point, so that K.M/P is integer. That means for example, that if you have 48 k-points in your system, it is not a good idea to start 47 MPI processes.

The next question is: how many nodes do I need? That depends strongly on the size of the unit cell you simulating and the memory size of the node you are simulating on. In the table below you can find some numbers from our experience on a commodity Intel cluster with 120 GB and 24 cores per node - if your unit cell (and hardware you use) is similar to what is shown there, it can be a good start point. The two numbers in the "# nodes"-column show the range from the "minimum needed" to the "still reasonable". Note that our test systems have only one k-point. If your simulation crashed with the run-out-of-memory-message, try to double your requested resources (after having checked that ulimit -s is set unlimited, of course ;)). The recommended number of MPI processes per node can be found in the next column. As for the number of OpenMP threads, on the Intel architecture it is usually a good idea to fill the node node with the threads (i.e. if the node consist of 24 cores and you start 4 MPI processes, you spawn each to 6 threads), but not to use the hyper-threading.

Best values for some test cases. Hardware: Intel Broadwell, 24 cores per node, 120 GB memory.

Name # k-points real/complex # atoms Matrix size LOs # nodes # MPI per node
NaCl 1 c 64 6217 - 1 4
AuAg 1 c 108 15468 - 1 4
CuAg 1 c 256 23724 - 1 - 8 4
Si 1 r 512 55632 - 2 - 16 4
GaAs 1 c 512 60391 + 8 - 32 2
TiO2 1 c 1078 101858 + 16 - 128 2

And last but not least - if you use the node exclusively, bind your processes and check your environment. If the processes are allowed to vagabond through the node (which is usually default), the performance can be severely damaged.