Nbodykit: an open-source, massively parallel toolkit for large-scale structure

Nick Hand, Yu Feng, Florian Beutler, Yin Li, Chirag Modi, Uroš Seljak, Zachary Slepian

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We present nbodykit, an open-source, massively parallel Python toolkit for analyzing large-scale structure (LSS) data. Using Python bindings of the Message Passing Interface, we provide parallel implementations of many commonly used algorithms in LSS. nbodykit is both an interactive and scalable piece of scientific software, performing well in a supercomputing environment while still taking advantage of the interactive tools provided by the Python ecosystem. Existing functionality includes estimators of the power spectrum, two- and three-point correlation functions, a friends-of-friends grouping algorithm, mock catalog creation via the halo occupation distribution technique, and approximate N-body simulations via the FastPM scheme. The package also provides a set of distributed data containers, insulated from the algorithms themselves, that enables nbodykit to provide a unified treatment of both simulation and observational data sets. nbodykit can be easily deployed in a high-performance computing environment, overcoming some of the traditional difficulties of using Python on supercomputers. We provide performance benchmarks illustrating the scalability of the software. The modular, component-based approach of nbodykit allows researchers to easily build complex applications using its tools. The package is extensively documented at http://nbodykit.readthedocs.io, which also includes an interactive set of example recipes for new users to explore. As open-source software, we hope nbodykit provides a common framework for the community to use and develop in confronting the analysis challenges of future LSS surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2018


  • large-scale structure of universe
  • methods: data analysis
  • methods: numerical
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/P004210/1


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