Installation & Execution

Installation with AMSpackages

Use the AMSpackages package manager to install Quantum ESPRESSO. This will install a version of Quantum ESPRESSO 7.1 that has been modified to support communicating with the AMS driver via the AMSpipe interface. This is the recommended way to install Quantum ESPRESSO.

  • Open the package manager from the SCM → Packages menu in the graphical user interface, select Quantum ESPRESSO and click Install, or

  • Directly install Quantum ESPRESSO from the command-line: "$AMSBIN/amspackages" install qe

Note that this will download Quantum ESPRESSO from SCM servers on the internet. For offline installation, see the package manager documentation.

Alternatively, you can compile your own version from source code.

How to run Quantum ESPRESSO via AMS driver

Quantum ESPRESSO should be installed through the package manager as explained above. That version contains some modifications by SCM that makes it compatible with the AMS driver.

You must run ams in serial. This will still let you run pw.x (Quantum ESPRESSO) in parallel.

To run ams in serial we recommend setting the environment variable SCM_DISABLE_MPI=1, as this will make sure that the AMS driver is not launched through mpirun (or a batch system specific equivalent launcher such as srun on SLURM).


If you launch AMS through PLAMS, this environment variable is automatically set in the runscript when the Quantum ESPRESSO engine is used.

See also


The Quantum ESPRESSO binaries are executed by the AMS driver using the $AMSBIN/startqe script. This script sets up the necessary executable and library search paths and configures the parallel environment for Quantum ESPRESSO programs. By default, startqe will launch Quantum ESPRESSO programs as a SLURM job step using srun when running in a SLURM job, or as MPI programs using mpiexec when available. If these defaults are not appropriate (especially when using a manually compiled Quantum ESPRESSO), they can be customized through a number of environment variables:

  • SCM_QESTARTCMD: Command called to launch Quantum ESPRESSO binaries (like pw.x, projwfc.x, …). This might need to be set when a custom launcher is needed to spawn the binaries. For example, when using a locally compiled version of Quantum ESPRESSO with MPI support, you might set export SCM_QESTARTCMD=mpirun.

  • SCM_QESTARTCMD_OPTIONS: Options to be passed to the QE start command defined by SCM_QESTARTCMD. This variable is ignored when SCM_QESTARTCMD is not set.

  • (expert option) SCM_QERC: Can be set to the (absolute) path to a shell script that will be sourced into startqe right before a Quantum ESPRESSO binary is executed. (Environment setup that might be needed to run QE binaries can then be put into that script.)

  • (expert option) SCM_USE_LOCAL_QE: When set, instead of using the AMSpackage version of Quantum ESPRESSO, use a local version of QE that must have been compiled to support the AMS interface. The Quantum ESPRESSO binaries (like pw.x, projwfc.x, …) of the local QE version should then be accessible on $PATH.

The distribution of Quantum ESPRESSO provided by SCM is parallelized as follows:

  • Linux: Primary parallelization using Intel MPI, secondary parallelization using multiple OpenMP threads in each MPI process

  • macOS: Single process using multiple OpenMP threads (no MPI support)

  • Windows: Parallelization using Microsoft MPI (no OpenMP support)

By default, startqe will set the number of CPU cores used by Quantum ESPRESSO according to the following logic:

  • When running under SLURM, the number of MPI ranks and OpenMP threads per MPI rank is controlled by the batch system (using its -n/--ntasks and -c/--cpus-per-task options, respectively)

  • Otherwise, the number of MPI ranks is given by the NSCM_AMSEXTERNAL or NSCM environment variables (the former takes precedence) or the -n command line argument to ams.

  • OpenMP threading will be disabled by default if MPI is being used. This can be overridden by setting OMP_NUM_THREADS to the desired number of threads per MPI rank.

  • If MPI support is not available, NSCM_AMSEXTERNAL/NSCM/-n will control the number of OpenMP threads instead.


MPI support is automatically disabled by AMS for Quantum ESPRESSO programs other than pw.x because these programs can fail when too many MPI ranks are used. These programs can still run with OpenMP parallelization as described above.


Setting SCM_QESTARTCMD disables the autoconfiguration of MPI and OpenMP and automatic usage of srun. Make sure to set SCM_QESTARTCMD_OPTIONS appropriately to use the desired number of cores.

Manual compilation and installation

Alternatively you can compile the modified version of Quantum ESPRESSO yourself. It is available as a fork in Gitlab:

Instructions on how to build Quantum ESPRESSO can be found on the official Wiki:

You will have to build it using CMake and set QE_ENABLE_AMSPIPE=ON to enable the integration with the AMS driver. The following script may be a good starting point for compiling the modified Quantum ESPRESSO version on your machine.

git clone
cd q-e
git checkout amspipe
mkdir build
cd build
cmake --build .

By default the AMS driver will always try to use the AMSpackages version of QuantumESPRESSO. If you compiled your own binaries and want to use them, make sure that your pw.x is available on $PATH and set the SCM_USE_LOCAL_QE environment variable:

export PATH="/path/to/my/q-e/build/bin:$PATH"