Most software packages are built from a compiler toolchain. A toolchain consists of one or more compilers, together with some libraries for using an MPI stack and commonly used math libraries. Well-known packages include BLAS/LAPACK APIs for linear algebra routines.

EasyBuild supports several different toolchains. The Hutch uses the foss toolchain, which is an acronym for Free Open Source Software. Foss is based on the GNU compiler tools. Toolchains are curated twice a year and named for the year, and labeled a or b, i.e., foss-2019b. When loading multiple modules for a workflow, always load modules from the same toolchain. Do not mix and match modules from different toolchains.

FOSS Toolchain Versions

The foss toolchain consists entirely of open source software. The FOSS name is derived from Free Open Sorce Software.

Each toolchain uses a single version of Python. Multible versions of libraries can exist within a single toolchain, like matplotlib but the base Python remains the same for all libraries within a toolchain.

Toolchain GCC Version Python Notes
foss-2023b GCC 13.2.0 3.11.5 March 19, 2024
foss-2023a GCC 12.3.0 3.11.3 Begining Feb 2024
foss-2022b GCC 12.2.0 3.10.8 Begining Feb 2023
foss-2022a GCC 11.3.0 3.10.4 Limited use
foss-2021b GCC 11.2.0 3.9.6 Begining Nov 2021
foss-2021a GCC 10.3.0 3.9.5 Limited use
foss-2020b GCC 10.2.0 3.8.6 Begining Nov 2020
foss-2020a GCC 9.3.0 3.8.2 Mostly skipped
foss-2019b GCC 8.3.0 3.7.4 Primay tool chain for June 2019 cluster update
foss-2019a GCC 8.2.0   skipped
foss-2018b GCC 7.3.0   Many modules were built for the new cluster, but were outdated by 2019
foss-2016b GCC 5.4.0   In use from 2016 too 2019. Retired with the Ubuntu 14.04 cluster

Toolchain diagram

To be more helpful in understanding the differences between these families, here is a diagram that explains what is added in each additional layer.

Note: because there have been a few changes in toolchains, there are notes below the diagram that explain the differences between the generations going back to the 2020b version of the foss and intel toolchains.

Newest generations (2023a and later):

Toolchain Diagram

Note: following notes apply for the generations listed and those older than it:

  • 2023a - iimkl not present yet
  • 2021b - gfbf not present yet
  • 2020b - foss uses OpenBLAS instead of FlexiBLAS, iccifort is used instead of intel-compilers