Continuous Deployment (CD)

Spheral uses Gitlab CI to continuously deploy installations of the risky tag, and release tags to Livermore Computing (LC) machines.

At any one time a developer/user will able to module load Spheral/... to their environment.

On LC systems we maintain:
  • Spheral/risky
  • Spheral/2023.06.0
  • Spheral/2023.03.1
  • Spheral/2023.03.0 (deprecated as of TOSS4 upgrade)
  • Spheral/2022.06.0 (deprecated as of TOSS4 upgrade)


risky will always sit somewhere between develop and the latest release on LC systems. This version of Spheral is made available for users between releases and although it is not as up to date as develop, should still be considered expermintal and used with caution.

The risky module can be updated by developers by deleting the current risky tag and pointing it at a new commit. After deletion, the creation of a new tag will generate a pipeline that must be manually run by a developer through the gitlab CI interface.


Spheral/risky will move between releases. This means if API breaking changes are pushed to develop/risky then user will need to updated scripts to be compatible with the new API.

Experimental Tags

One benefit of a tag based CD system is the ability to push experimental builds of Spheral out to users. If a developer has a large change coming and wants/needs users to test out these changes an experimental tag can be installed to LC.


Experimental tags will need to be removed once stale as there is currently no process for cleaning out /usr/gapps/Spheral automatically.

Versioned Releases

Release builds are installed to LC systems in a similar fashion to risky. When a new release tag is created a pipeline in Gitlab CI will be generated. It will not automatically start and will need to be manually initialized by a developer with the appropriate permissions.


As an artifact of our CD pipeline we generate a tar file with the naming format:


This tar file contains everything to build and install Spheral on the given $SYS_TYPE (e.g. toss_4_x86_64_ib). It contains:

  • A spack build cache of all the pre-built binaries for Spheral TPLs.
  • A spack mirror of all TPL tars to enable re-compilation at a later date.
  • spack bootstrap dependencies for use of libraries such as clingo.
  • Spheral source code.

After extracting the dev-pkg tar on the target system a user can install spheral using scritps/lc/

This simple script will install Spheral from an unzipped dev-pkg file to the given location. There are a few environment variables that can be used to configure this script.

SPACK_PKG_NAME (default : spheral) The name of the target spack package you want built and its dependencies.

SPACK_URL (default : Spack location. A local clone of the spack repository can be used as well (e.g. SPACK_URL=file:///usr/mydir/spack).

BUILD_ALLOC Useful for schedule based systems ( e.g. BUILD_ALLOC="salloc -N 1 --exclusive").

SCRIPT_DIR If the Spheral scripts have been moved, override this option.

SPEC The spack spec to target (e.g. on TOSS4 SPEC=gcc@10.3.1).

INSTALL_DIR The installation directory for Spheral to live.


Users will need to generate module files, symlinks and set permissions manually after a successful installation of Spheral from a dev-pkg tar.