Build and Test

There are a few common paths to take when manually building the nGraph Compiler stack from source code. Today nGraph supports various developers working on all parts of the Deep Learning stack, and the way you decide to build or install components ought to depend on the capabilities of your hardware, and how you intend to use it.

A “from scratch” source-code build of the nGraph Library enables the CPU, Interpreter, and unit tests by default. See Building nGraph from source for more detail.

A “from scratch” source-code build that defaults to the PlaidML backend contains rich algorithm libraries akin to those that were previously available only to developers willing to spend extensive time writing, testing, and customizing kernels. An NGRAPH_PLAIDML dist can function like a framework that lets developers compose, train, and even deploy DL models in their preferred language on neural networks of any size. This is a good option if, for example, you are working on a laptop with a high-end GPU that you want to use for compute. See Building nGraph-PlaidML from source for instructions on how to build.

In either case, there are some prerequisites that your system will need to build from sources.


Operating System


Build System


Additional Packages

CentOS 7.4 64-bit

GCC 4.8

CMake 3.9.0


wget zlib-devel ncurses-libs ncurses-devel patch diffutils gcc-c++ make git perl-Data-Dumper

Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04 (LTS) 64-bit

Clang 6

CMake 3.5.1 + GNU Make


build-essential cmake clang-format-6.0 clang-tidy-6.0 clang-6.0 git curl zlib1g zlib1g-dev libtinfo-dev unzip autoconf automake libtool

Clear Linux* OS for Intel® Architecture version 28880+

Clang 8.0

CMake 3.14.2


bundles machine-learning-basic c-basic python-basic python-basic-dev dev-utils

Building nGraph from source


The default cmake procedure (no build flags) will install ngraph_dist to an OS-level location like /usr/bin/ngraph_dist or /usr/lib/ngraph_dist. Here we specify how to build locally to the location of ~/ngraph_dist with the cmake target -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/ngraph_dist.

All of the nGraph Library documentation presumes that ngraph_dist gets installed locally. The system location can be used just as easily by customizing paths on that system. See the ngraph/CMakeLists.txt file to change or customize the default CMake procedure.

Ubuntu LTS build steps

The process documented here will work on Ubuntu* 16.04 (LTS) or on Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS).

  1. Ensure you have installed the Prerequisites for Ubuntu*.

  2. Clone the NervanaSystems ngraph repo:

    $ git clone
    $ cd ngraph
  3. Create a build directory outside of the ngraph/src directory tree; somewhere like ngraph/build, for example:

    $ mkdir build && cd build
  4. Generate the GNU Makefiles in the customary manner (from within the build directory). This command enables ONNX support in the library and sets the target build location at ~/ngraph_dist, where it can be found easily.


    Other optional build flags – If running gcc-5.4.0 or clang-3.9, remember that you can also append cmake with the prebuilt LLVM option to speed-up the build. Another option if your deployment system has Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) is to target the accelerations available directly by compiling the build as follows during the cmake step: -DNGRAPH_TARGET_ARCH=skylake-avx512.

    $ cmake .. [-DNGRAPH_TARGET_ARCH=skylake-avx512]
  5. Run $ make and make install to install and the header files to ~/ngraph_dist:

    $ make   # note: make -j <N> may work, but sometimes results in out-of-memory errors if too many compilation processes are used
    $ make install
  6. (Optional, requires doxygen, Sphinx, and breathe). Run make html inside the doc/sphinx directory of the cloned source to build a copy of the website docs locally. The low-level API docs with inheritance and collaboration diagrams can be found inside the /docs/doxygen/ directory. See the Contributing to documentation for more details about how to build documentation for nGraph.

CentOS 7.4 build steps

The process documented here will work on CentOS 7.4.

  1. Ensure you have installed the Prerequisites for CentOS*, and update the system with yum.

    $ sudo yum update
  2. Install Cmake 3.4:

    $ wget
    $ tar -xzvf cmake-3.5.0.tar.gz
    $ cd cmake-3.5.0
    $ ./bootstrap --system-curl --prefix=~/cmake
    $ make && make install
  3. Clone the NervanaSystems ngraph repo via HTTPS and use Cmake 3.5.0 to build nGraph Libraries to ~/ngraph_dist. This command enables ONNX support in the library (optional).

    $ cd /opt/libraries
    $ git clone
    $ cd ngraph && mkdir build && cd build
    $ ~/cmake/bin/cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/ngraph_dist -DNGRAPH_ONNX_IMPORT_ENABLE=ON
    $ make && sudo make install

Building nGraph-PlaidML from source

The following instructions will create the ~/ngraph_plaidml_dist locally:

  1. Ensure you have installed the Prerequisites for your OS.

  2. Install the prerequisites for the backend. Our hybrid NGRAPH_PLAIDML backend works best with Python3 versions. We recommend that you use a virtual environment, due to some of the difficulties that users have seen when trying to install outside of a venv.

    $ sudo apt install python3-pip
    $ pip install plaidml
    $ plaidml-setup
  3. Clone the source code, create and enter your build directory:

    $ git clone
    $ cd ngraph && mkdir build && cd build
  4. Prepare the CMake files as follows:

  5. Run make and make install. Note that if you are building outside a local or user path, you may need to run make install as the root user.

    $ make
    $ make install

    This should create the shared library and nbench. Note that if you built in a virtual environment and run make check from it, the Google Test may report failures. Full tests can be run when PlaidML devices are available at the machine level.

For more about working with the PlaidML backend from nGraph, see our API documentation PlaidML from nGraph.

macOS* development


Although we do not currently offer full support for the macOS platform, some configurations and features may work.

The repository includes two scripts (maint/ and maint/ that are used respectively to check adherence to libngraph code formatting conventions, and to automatically reformat code according to those conventions. These scripts require the command clang-format-3.9 to be in your PATH. Run the following commands (you will need to adjust them if you are not using bash):

$ brew install llvm@3.9 automake
$ mkdir -p $HOME/bin
$ ln -s /usr/local/opt/llvm@3.9/bin/clang-format $HOME/bin/clang-format-3.9
$ echo 'export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH' >> $HOME/.bash_profile

Testing the build

We use the googletest framework from Google for unit tests. The cmake command automatically downloaded a copy of the needed gtest files when it configured the build directory.

To perform unit tests on the install:

  1. Create and configure the build directory as described in our Build and Test guide.

  2. Enter the build directory and run make check:

    $ cd build/
    $ make check