Created: 2008-08-13 18:40
Updated: 2019-02-28 14:31
License: other


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SymEngine is a standalone fast C++ symbolic manipulation library. Optional thin wrappers allow usage of the library from other languages, e.g.:

Try SymEngine

Run an interactive C++ session with SymEngine using Binder.


All files are licensed under MIT license, see the LICENSE for more information. Third party code packaged are licensed under BSD 3-clause license (see the LICENSE file).

Mailinglist, Chat

SymEngine mailinglist:



Ubuntu package manager

add-apt-repository ppa:symengine/ppa
apt-get update
apt-get install libsymengine-dev

Conda package manager

conda install symengine -c symengine -c conda-forge

Homebrew pacakge manager

brew install homebrew/science/symengine

Building from source

Install prerequisites. For Debian based systems (Ubuntu etc.):

apt-get install cmake libgmp-dev

For RPM based systems (Fedora etc.):

yum install cmake gmp-devel

Install SymEngine:

cmake .
make install

This will configure and build SymEngine in the default Release mode with all code and compiler optimizations on and then install it on your system.

Run tests:



The Travis-CI checks the code in both Release and Debug mode with all possible checks, so just sending a GitHub pull request is enough and you can use any mode you want to develop it. However, the best way to develop SymEngine on Linux is to use the Debug mode with BFD support on:


This BFD support turns on nice Python like stack traces on exceptions, assert errors or segfaults, and the Debug mode automatically turns on WITH_SYMENGINE_RCP=no (which uses Teuchos::RCP with full Debug time checking) and WITH_SYMENGINE_ASSERT=yes, so the code cannot segfault in Debug mode, as long as our style conventions (e.g. no raw pointers) are followed, which is easy to check by visual inspection of a given Pull Request. In Release mode, which is the default, the code is as performing as manual reference counting and raw pointers (and if there is a bug, it could segfault, in which case all you have to do is to turn Debug mode on and get a nice exception with a stack trace).

To make WITH_BFD=yes work, you need to install binutils-dev first, otherwise you will get a CMake error during configuring. For Debian based systems (Ubuntu etc.)

apt-get install binutils-dev

For RPM based systems (Fedora etc.)

yum install binutils-devel

On OpenSuSE you will additionally need glibc-devel.

CMake Options

Here are all the CMake options that you can use to configure the build, with their default values indicated below:

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="/usr/local" \  # Installation prefix
    -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING="Release" \         # Type of build, one of: Debug or Release
    -DWITH_BFD:BOOL=OFF \                         # Install with BFD library (requires binutils-dev)s
    -DWITH_SYMENGINE_ASSERT:BOOL=OFF \            # Test all SYMENGINE_ASSERT statements in the code
    -DWITH_SYMENGINE_RCP:BOOL=ON \                # Use our faster special implementation of RCP
    -DWITH_SYMENGINE_THREAD_SAFE:BOOL=OFF \       # Build with thread safety
    -DWITH_ECM:BOOL=OFF \                         # Build with GMP-ECM library for integer factorization
    -DWITH_PRIMESIEVE:BOOL=OFF \                  # Install with Primesieve library
    -DWITH_FLINT:BOOL=OFF \                       # Install with Flint library
    -DWITH_ARB:BOOL=OFF \                         # Install with ARB library
    -DWITH_TCMALLOC:BOOL=OFF \                    # Install with TCMalloc linked
    -DWITH_OPENMP:BOOL=OFF \                      # Install with OpenMP enabled
    -DWITH_PIRANHA:BOOL=OFF \                     # Install with Piranha library
    -DWITH_MPFR:BOOL=OFF \                        # Install with MPFR library
    -DWITH_MPC:BOOL=OFF \                         # Install with MPC library
    -DWITH_LLVM:BOOL=OFF \                        # Build with LLVM libraries
    -DBUILD_TESTS:BOOL=ON \                       # Build with tests
    -DBUILD_BENCHMARKS:BOOL=ON \                  # Build with benchmarks
    -DBUILD_BENCHMARKS_NONIUS:BOOL=OFF \          # Build with Nonius benchmarks
    -DINTEGER_CLASS:STRING=gmp \                  # Choose storage type for Integer. one of gmp, gmpxx,
                                                    flint, piranha, boostmp
    -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS:BOOL=OFF \                # Build a shared library.
    -DCMAKE_INSTALL_RPATH_USE_LINK_PATH:BOOL=OFF\ # Add dependencies to rpath when a shared lib is built

If OpenMP is enabled, then SYMENGINE_THREAD_SAFE is also enabled automatically irrespective of the user input for WITH_SYMENGINE_THREAD_SAFE.

CMake prints the value of its options at the end of the run. If you want to use a different compiler, do:

CC=clang CXX=clang++ cmake .

and check that CMake picked it up.

Using INTEGER_CLASS=boostmp would remove the dependency on gmp and use boost's multiprecision integer and rational classes. This would make boost, the only dependency and all the code would be under permissive licenses, namely, MIT, BSD 3-clause and Boost License.

The Nonius based benchmarks (BUILD_BENCHMARKS_NONIUS) and Piranha (WITH_PIRANHA) depend on Boost, so they are off by default. The benchmarked code (both with and without Nonius) seems to depend on the order of which you execute the benchmarks in a given executable, due to internal malloc implementation. We have found that this order dependence is reduced by enabling WITH_TCMALLOC=ON and since it also speeds the benchmarks up, we recommend to always use TCMalloc when benchmarking (and the Release mode of SymEngine, which is the default).

External Libraries

Use CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH to specify the prefixes of the external libraries.

cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=<prefix1>;<prefix2>

If the headers and libs are not in <prefix>/include and <prefix>/lib respectively, use CMAKE_LIBRARY_PATH and CMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH.

If CMake still cannot find the library, you can specify the path to the library by doing cmake -DPKG_LIBRARY=/path/ ., where PKG should be replaced with the name of the external library (GMP, ARB, BFD, FLINT, MPFR, ...). Similarly, -DPKG_INCLUDE_DIR can be used for headers.

Developer Documentation

Please follow the C++ Style Guide when developing.

The design decisions are documented in Design.

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