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Welcome to Galacticus

Welcome to the Galacticus project. Galacticus is a semi-analytic model of galaxy formation - a powerful toolkit for modeling the physics of how galaxies form. For a scientific description of the model see the New Astronomy article on Galacticus.


For questions about installing or using Galacticus, please contact:


Snapshots of the entire source, along with statically-linked executables are created automatically every day. You can check the status of the automated builds here.

How do I install and use Galacticus?

Galacticus is designed to run on Linux systems - we currently do not support installation on Mac OS.

Installing using a pre-compiled binary

By far the easiest way to install and use Galacticus is to use a pre-compiled binary. To do this:

wget -O galacticus.tar.gz
wget -O galacticus_datasets.tar.gz
mkdir galacticus; tar xvfz galacticus.tar.gz -C galacticus --strip-components 1
mkdir datasets; tar xvfz galacticus_datasets.tar.gz -C datasets --strip-components 1
cd datasets
tar xvfz tools.tar.gz
cd galacticus
chmod u=wrx galacticus.exe
  • set environment variables to indicate the locations at which you downloaded the source and data:
export GALACTICUS_EXEC_PATH=/path/to/source/folder
export GALACTICUS_DATA_PATH=/path/to/data/folder

(Galacticus needs to write some data files to disk at run time. Usually these are written to $GALACTICUS_DATA_PATH/dynamic/. If you do not have write permission to that location, you should set the environment variable GALACTICUS_DYNAMIC_DATA_PATH to a path where dynamically-generated files can be written.)

You can then run a quick test model using:

galacticus.exe parameters/quickTest.xml

Installing from source

To install Galacticus from source (necessary only if you want to modify or add to the code yourself), the recommended approach is to use the installation script. The installation script will attempt to download and install all dependencies, before downloading and installing Galacticus.

Note that the degree of success you experience with the installation script may be less than you hoped for! If the script fails, open a bug report at the installation scripts repo.

Step-by-step instructions on how to compile Galacticus on Linux and Mac OS yourself are also available.

Contribution guidelines

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