Sunrise on Docker

Sunrise is a popular "Monte-Carlo Radiation Transfer code for calculating absorption and scattering of light in astrophysical situations" (it's hosted on bitbucket here). Unfortunately, it is notoriously finnicky to get installed, as it relies on specific point release versions of nearly a dozen different libraries. This is exactly the sort of problem that Docker is supposed to solve, at scale: distributing packages along with all of the library infrastructure they require in one self-contained image. If you are skeptical about docker's performance, check out this paper IBM Research has published: in nearly every metric, docker performance is within 5% of native bare-metal

I'm going to build a docker image with a working install of sunrise, that should save me and my fellow grad students days of wrestling with angry, old C++ libraries. Details below the fold.

TLDR; just give me the image!

If you don't care to build your own image, I have uploaded the results of the instructions below to Docker Hub. You can check it out there, and fetch the results with this command:

docker pull bwkeller/sunrise

Building the Sunrise image by hand

Getting docker ready

I won't waste time explaining how to install docker, as that is both well-documented elsewhere and system-specific. I am writing this tutorial from a Debian Stretch system, and it also has worked on my laptop running Ubuntu 15.04. I am a Debian fan, so we're going to build our container off of a Debian base. First, let's grab it, and check that it works:

docker pull debian:jessie
docker run debian:jessie cat /etc/apt/sources.list

If that pipes out some standard looking Debian repos, we've now got a working Debian Jessie (the latest stable version) image.

Build a base image

I'm going to try first building Sunrise interactively, and then write a dockerfile to automate the process. First thing I need to do is get the basics. I'll start up my Debian image, and begin installing some essentials:

docker run  -t -i debian:jessie /bin/bash

Once I'm in the image, I can fetch some of the needed components from apt:

apt-get update
apt-get install cpio libtbb-dev libtool build-essential units wget vim openmpi-bin mercurial git autoconf libbz2-dev zlib1g-dev libccfits-dev libcfitsio-dev libcfitsio-bin

I will make a directory for my sunrise stuff too.

mkdir sunrise

I'm then commit this as, in case I need to roll back (knowing Sunrise, this may be necessary).

docker commit -m "Added basic stuff from apt" -a "Your Name" CONTAINER_ID

Now we can start our new image and futz around, while still being able to revert back here and not need to re-install all of the tools from apt.

docker run -t -i username/sunrise:free-base /bin/bash

Installing icc

Unfortunately, sunrise will not compile with any free compilers. We will need to get the Intel C++ compiler, install that in our image, and then remove it once we have sunrise built (since we can't legally redistribute it.) You can get this from Intel, and you may need to pay for it. If you qualify though, you can get a free version from here. We now also have the additional complication that we will need to make statically-linked binaries so that we can remove the Intel libraries and not break everything.

Once you've got the installer, you will need to set an environment variable to prevent the from segfaulting:

export USER=root

It will also want some packages.

cd /where-intel-compiler-is

Be sure to de-select ia32, since we don't want it moaning about missing libraries.

When it is done, make sure icc is in our path:

source /opt/intel/bin/ intel64

Installing the redistributable Intel libraries

cd /
./ --install-dir=/usr/local
source /usr/local/lib/bin/

Getting the libraries

Now we need to begin by fetching all of the varied specific versions of libraries that sunrise relies on.


Fetch it:

cd sunrise/
wget ''
mv boost* boost_1_48_0.tar.bz2
tar xvjf boost_1_48_0.tar.bz2
rm boost_1_48_0.tar.bz2
cd boost*/

Patch this ancient version of boost so it compiles with a modern compiler:

wget --no-check-certificate
patch -p0 < libstdcpp3.hpp.patch
for file in `grep -r -l TIME_UTC *`; do sed -i -e 's/TIME_UTC/TIME_UTC_/' $file; done

Build it:

sed -i -e 's/using intel-linux/using intel-linux : : : <compileflags>-shared-intel <linkflags>-shared-intel/' project-config.jam
echo "using mpi : /opt/intel/impi/ ;" > user-config.jam
./ --without-libraries=python --with-toolset=intel-linux
./b2 --user-config=user-config.jam install


Fetch it:

hg clone
cd blitz/
hg checkout ab84372f3dce

Build it:

autoreconf -fiv
export CXX=icpc
export CC=icc
export CXXFLAGS='-O2 -pthread -shared-intel'
export CFLAGS='-O2 -pthread -shared-intel'
export LDFLAGS='-pthread -shared-intel'
./configure --enable-threadsafe --disable-cxx-flags-preset --enable-serialization 
make lib
make install

That was easy!


Fetch it:

hg clone
cd libpjutil/

Build it:

autoreconf -fiv

And of course, we finally need to set up our units:

export UNITSFILE=/usr/share/units.dat

Building Sunrise itself

We are finally ready to install the monster itself. Let's fetch the source first.

git clone
cd sunrise/

Got to configure some environment variables:

autoreconf -fiv
export CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include -I/usr/local/include/libPJutil -shared-intel"
export CFLAGS="-O2 -pthread -shared-intel"
export LDFLAGS='-pthread -shared-intel'
export CXXFLAGS="-O3 -pthread -shared-intel"

Build the monster:

make install

Making it Redistributable

We now need to remove all of the non-free components (read: Intel compiler)

rm -rf /sunrise
/opt/intel/parallel_studio_xe_2015/ --default
rm -rf /opt/intel

Finalize Install

We now need to make sure all of the libraries are in $LD_LIBRARY_PATH when we start our image:

echo "source /usr/local/bin/ intel64" >> /etc/bash.bashrc
echo "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/local/lib" >> /etc/bash.bashrc

The last thing we need to do is remove some temporary files and clean up the image.

rm -rf /tmp/intel*
echo > ~/.bashrc

And we are done! We now have a working, redistributable docker image with sunrise installed on it. Just commit:

docker commit commit -m "A winner is you" -a "Your Name" CONTAINER_ID username/sunrise:latest


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