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VASP is a package for performing ab initio quantum-mechanical molecular dynamics (MD) using pseudopotentials and a plane wave basis set. The approach implemented in VASP is based on a finite-temperature local-density approximation (with the free energy as variational quantity) and an exact evaluation of the instantaneous electronic ground state at each MD step using efficient matrix diagonalization schemes and an efficient Pulay mixing.

Availability and Supported Architectures at NERSC

VASP is available at NERSC as a provided support level package for users who have an active VASP license. To gain access to the VASP binaries at NERSC through an existing VASP license, please fill out the VASP License Confirmation Request. You can also access this form at NERSC Help Desk (Open Request -> VASP License Confirmation Request).


If your VASP license was purchased from the VASP Software GmbH, the license owner (usually your PI) should have registered you under his/her license at the VASP Portal before you fill out the form.

It may take several business days from when the form is submitted to when access to NERSC-provided VASP binaries is granted.

When your VASP license is confirmed, NERSC will add you to a unix file group: vasp5 for VASP 5, and vasp6 for VASP 6. You can check if you have VASP access at NERSC via the groups command. If you are in the vasp5 file group, then you can access VASP 5 binaries provided at NERSC. If you are in the vasp6 file group, then you can access both VASP 5 and VASP 6.

VASP 6 supports GPU execution.

Versions Supported

Cori Haswell Cori KNL Perlmutter GPU Perlmutter CPU (Anticipated)
5.X, 6.X 5.X, 6.X 6.X (6.X)

Use the module avail vasp command to see a full list of available sub-versions.

Application Information, Documentation, and Support

See the developers page for information about VASP, including links to documentation, workshops, tutorials, and other information. Instructions for building the code and preparing input files can be found in the VASP Online Manual. For troubleshooting, see the VASP users forum for technical help and support-related questions; see also the list of known issues. For help with issues specific to the NERSC module, please file a support ticket.


We provide multiple VASP builds for users. Use the module avail vasp command to see which versions are available and module load vasp/<version> to load the environment. For example, these are the available modules (as of 4/22/2022),

cori$ module avail vasp

----------------------- /global/common/software/nersc/cle7up03/extra_modulefiles -----------------------
vasp/5.4.1-hsw                 vasp/6.3.0-hsw                 vasp-tpc/5.4.1-hsw
vasp/5.4.1-knl                 vasp/6.3.0-knl                 vasp-tpc/5.4.1-knl
vasp/5.4.4-hsw(default)        vasp/20170323_NMAX_DEG=128-hsw vasp-tpc/5.4.4-hsw(default)
vasp/5.4.4-knl                 vasp/20170323_NMAX_DEG=128-knl vasp-tpc/5.4.4-knl
vasp/6.1.0-hsw                 vasp/20170629-hsw              vasp-tpc/6.2.1-hsw
vasp/6.1.0-knl                 vasp/20170629-knl              vasp-tpc/6.2.1-knl
vasp/6.1.2-hsw                 vasp/20171017-hsw              vasp-tpc/20170629-hsw
vasp/6.1.2-knl                 vasp/20171017-knl              vasp-tpc/20170629-knl
vasp/6.2.1-hsw                 vasp/20181030-hsw
vasp/6.2.1-knl                 vasp/20181030-knl
perlmutter$ module avail vasp

--------------------- /global/common/software/nersc/pm-2022.03.1/extra_modulefiles ---------------------
   vasp-tpc/6.2.1-gpu    vasp/6.2.1-gpu

where the modules with "5.4.4" or "5.4.1" in their version strings are pure MPI builds, and the modules with "2018" or "2017" in their version strings are hybrid MPI+OpenMP builds, which are available to the NERSC VASP 5 users through the VASP beta testing program. The modules with "6.1.0" are official releases of hybrid MPI+OpenMP VASP, which are available to the users who have VASP 6 licenses. The vasp-tpc (tpc stands for third party codes) modules are the custom builds incorporating commonly used third party contributed codes, e.g. VTST from University of Texas at Austin, Wannier90, BEFF, VASPSol, etc. The "knl" and "hsw" in the version strings indicate the modules are optimal builds for Cori KNL and Haswell, respectively. The current default on Cori is vasp/5.4.4-hsw (VASP 5.4.4 with the latest patches), and you can access it by

cori$ module load vasp

To use a non-default module, provide the full module name,

cori$ module load vasp/20181030-knl

The module show command shows the effect VASP modules have on your environment, e.g.

cori$ module show vasp/20181030-knl

module       load craype-hugepages2M 
module-whatis    VASP: Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package
This is the vasp-knl development version (last commit 10/30/2018). Wannier90 v1.2 was enabled in the build.

setenv       PSEUDOPOTENTIAL_DIR /usr/common/software/vasp/pseudopotentials/5.3.5 
setenv       VDW_KERNAL_DIR /usr/common/software/vasp/vdw_kernal 
setenv       NO_STOP_MESSAGE 1 
setenv       MKL_FAST_MEMORY_LIMIT 0 
setenv       OMP_STACKSIZE 256m 
setenv       OMP_PROC_BIND spread 
setenv       OMP_PLACES threads 
prepend-path     PATH /usr/common/software/vasp/vtstscripts/3.1
prepend-path     PATH /global/common/cori/software/vasp/20181030/knl/intel/bin 

This vasp module adds the path to the VASP binaries to your search path and sets a few environment variables, where PSEUDOPOTENTIAL_DIR and VDW_KERNAL_DIR are defined for the locations of the pseudopotential files and the vdw_kernel.bindat file used in dispersion calculations. The OpenMP and MKL environment variables are set for optimal performance.

Vasp binaries

Each VASP module provides the three different binaries:

  • vasp_gam - gamma point only build
  • vasp_ncl - non-collinear spin
  • vasp_std - the standard kpoint binary

One must choose the appropriate binary for the corresponding job.

Sample Job Scripts

To run batch jobs, prepare a job script (see samples below), and submit it to the batch system with the sbatch command, e.g. for job script named run.slurm,

nersc$ sbatch run.slurm

Please check the Queue Policy page for the available QOS's and their resource limits.

Cori Haswell

Sample job script for running the Pure MPI VASP build
#SBATCH -C haswell
#SBATCH -q regular
#SBATCH -t 6:00:00

module load vasp
srun -n32 -c2 --cpu_bind=cores vasp_std
Sample job script for running the hybrid MPI+OpenMP VASP build
#SBATCH -C haswell
#SBATCH -q regular
#SBATCH -t 6:00:00

module load vasp/20181030-hsw

# launching 1 task every 4 cores (8 CPUs)
srun -n16 -c8 --cpu_bind=cores vasp_std

Cori KNL

Sample job script for running the Pure MPI VASP build
#SBATCH -C knl
#SBATCH -q regular
#SBATCH -t 6:00:00

module load vasp/5.4.4-knl
srun -n128 -c4 --cpu_bind=cores vasp_std
Sample job script for running the hybrid MPI+OpenMP VASP build
#SBATCH -C knl
#SBATCH -q regular
#SBATCH -t 6:00:00

module load vasp/20181030-knl

# launching 1 task every 4 cores (16 CPUs)
srun -n32 -c16 --cpu_bind=cores vasp_std

Perlmutter GPUs

Sample job script for running VASP 6 on Perlmutter GPU nodes
#SBATCH -J myjob
#SBATCH -A <your project GPU allocation account name>  # e.g., m1111_g
#SBATCH -q regular
#SBATCH -t 6:00:00        
#SBATCH -N 2           
#SBATCH -C gpu
#SBATCH --exclusive
#SBATCH -o %x-%j.out
#SBATCH -e %x-%j.err

module load vasp/6.2.1-gpu

srun -n8 -c32 --cpu-bind=cores --gpu-bind=single:1 -G 8 vasp_std


  1. For better throughput on Cori, run jobs on KNL nodes.
  2. Hybrid MPI+OpenMP builds are recommended on Cori KNL for optimal performance.
  3. More performance tips can be found in a Cray User Group 2017 proceeding.
  4. Refer to the presentation slides for the VASP user training (6/18/2019).

Running interactively

To run VASP interactively, request a batch session using salloc.

Interactive VASP on Cori Haswell

The following command requests one Cori Haswell node for one hour:

cori$ salloc -N 1 -q interactive -C haswell -t 1:00:00

When the batch session returns with a shell prompt, execute the following commands:

cori$ module load vasp 
cori$ srun -n32 -c2 --cpu-bind=cores vasp_std
Interactive VASP on Cori KNL

For example, to run on two Cori KNL nodes for four hours, do

cori$ salloc -N 2 -q interactive -C knl -t 4:00:00

When the batch session returns with a shell prompt, execute the following commands:

cori$ module load vasp/20181030-knl
cori$ export OMP_NUM_THREADS=4
cori$ srun -n32 -c16 --cpu-bind=cores vasp_std


  1. The interactive QOS allocates the requested nodes immediately or cancels your job in about 5 minutes (when no nodes are available). See the Queue Policy page for more info.
  2. Test your job using the interactive QOS before submitting a long running job.

Long running VASP jobs

For long VASP jobs (e.g., > 48 hours), you can use the variable-time job script, which allows you to run jobs with any length. See a sample job script at Running Jobs. Variable-time jobs split a long running job into multiple chunks, so it requires the application to be able to restart from where it left off. Note that not all VASP computations are restartable, e.g., RPA; long running atomic relaxations and MD simulations are good use cases of the variable-time job script.

Running multiple VASP jobs simultaneously

For running many similar VASP jobs, it may be beneficial to bundle them inside a single job script, as described in Running Jobs.

However, the maximum number of jobs you should bundle in a job script is limited, ideally not exceeding ten. This is because the batch system, Slurm (as it's implemented currently) is serving tens of thousands of other jobs on the system at the same time as yours, and compounding srun commands can occupy a great deal of Slurm's resources.

If you want to run many more similar VASP jobs simultaneously, we recommend using the MPI wrapper for VASP that NERSC has provided, which enables you to run as many VASP jobs as you wish under a single srun invocation. The MPI wrapper for VASP is available via the mvasp module on Cori.

For example, consider the case of running 512 VASP jobs simultaneously, each on a single KNL node. One has prepared 512 input files, where each input resides in its own directory under a common parent directory. From the parent directory one can create a job script like below,

run_mvasp.slurm run 512 VASP jobs simultaneously on Cori KNL
#SBATCH -J test_mvasp
#SBATCH -N 512 
#SBATCH -C knl
#SBATCH -q debug
#SBATCH -o %x-%j.out
#SBATCH -t 30:00

module load mvasp/5.4.4-knl

#run 512 VASP jobs simultaneously each running vasp_std with 1 KNL node (64 processes)
sbcast --compress=lz4 `which mvasp_std` /tmp/mvasp_std
srun -n 32768 -c4 --cpu-bind=cores /tmp/mvasp_std

then generate a file named, which contains the number of jobs to run and the VASP run directories (one directory per line). One can then use the script that is available via the mvasp modules to create the file.

module load mvasp

A sample file is available. Then, submit the job via sbatch:

sbatch run_mvasp.slurm.  


  • Be aware that running too many VASP jobs at once may overwhelm the file system where your job is running. Please do not run jobs in your global home directory.
  • In the sample job script above, to reduce the job startup time for large jobs the executable was copied to the /tmp file system (memory) of the compute nodes using the sbcast command prior to execution.

Similarly, one can run multiple VASP jobs on Haswell nodes. Here is a sample job script:

run_mvasp.slurm: run 512 VASP jobs simultaneously with 64 Haswell nodes
#SBATCH -J test_mvasp
#SBATCH -N 64 
#SBATCH -C haswell 
#SBATCH -q debug
#SBATCH -o %x-%j.out
#SBATCH -t 30:00

module load mvasp/5.4.4-hsw

#run 512 VASP jobs simultaneously each running vasp_std with 4 processors (each node runs 8 jobs) 
srun -n 2048 -c2 --cpu-bind=cores ./mvasp_std

Building VASP from Source

Some users may be interested in building VASP themselves. As an example we outline the process for building the VASP 5.4.4 binaries. First, download vasp5.4.4.pl2.tgz from VASP Portal to your cluster and untar it, e.g., on your home directory. Then run the following commands:

cd vasp.5.4.4.pl2
git clone
patch -p0 < mpi_wrapper/patch_vasp.5.4.4.pl2_mpi_wrapper.diff

One needs a makefile.include file in order to build the code; samples are available in the installation directories of the NERSC modules. For example, the makefile.include file that we used to build the vasp/5.4.4-hsw module is located at,


Type module show <a vasp module> to find the installation directory of the NERSC module. Copy the sample makefile.include file from the NERSC installation directory to the root directory of your local VASP 5.4.4 build. Then run,

make std


make all

The resulting VASP binaries are mvasp_std, mvasp_gam, and mvasp_ncl (where m stands for multiple).

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