Visualizing Science

The Frontera Secret Sauce

Layered look at Frontera’s software stack

The Frontera software stack is the ‘secret sauce’ responsible for its success. The base is the Linux distribution Centos 7. On top of that, throw in some 200-plus custom-built packages. Add two compilers, finely chopped. Next, two whole MPI stacks. Top it off with a pinch of numerical libraries and community applications for zest. Spicy!


Singularity ensures custom software stacks can be designed locally and can safely run at TACC without conflict.

User Applications

Most are built on top of the installed software base. Modules allow control of the build environment. LMOD allows users to quickly switch between compiler and MPI stacks with automatic library reload.


A wide variety of tools for programming, debugging, high throughput computing, visualization, analysis, profiling, resource utilization, and machine learning.

Community Applications

Installed and maintained by TACC staff, configured for optimal performance.

Numerical Libraries

Sixteen libraries support I/O, FFT signal analysis, and solvers.

Performance Libraries
Twenty-four software libraries form the basic foundation of Frontera’s user community.

MPI Stacks
Intel MPI and MVAPICH2 scale to over 250k tasks.


Centos 7.8 as the base, with Intel versions 18.0.5 and 19.1.1 for best overall performance and GNU 6.3, 8.3, and 9.1 for compabitibility with many open source packages.