Getting Started


The simplest way to install PCVS is through PyPI repositories. It will fetch the lastest release but a specific version can be specified (detailed documentation in Installation Guide):

$ pip3 install pcvs
# OR
$ pip3 install pcvs<=0.5.0
$ pcvs
Usage: pcvs [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

PCVS main program.

Full completion (options & arguments) is provide an can be activated with:

# ZSH support
$ eval "$(_PCVS_COMPLETE=zsh_source pcvs)"
# BASH support
$ eval "$(_PCVS_COMPLETE=bash_source pcvs)"

PCVS-formatted test-suite

Test-suite layout

While PCVS is highly customizable, it comes with templates to locally test it without any prior knowledge. Before using PCVS, let’s consider a provided test-suite as any tests/ directory ( all-reduce.c & wave.c provided for convenience):

$ tree tests
├── coll
│   └── all-reduce.c
└── pt2pt
        └── wave.c
2 directories, 2 files

PCVS needs rules to know how to parse the test-suite above to create tests. This will be done through pcvs.yml specification file. Such a file can be placed anywhere in the file tree. Consider putting it directly under the tests/ directory for this example. Here is the content of this file:


A test is the combination of a program, its arguments and the environment used to execute it. from PCVS’ point of view, a test file does not carry the whole test environment. the orchestrator itself manage to build it directly from specification. Thus pcvs.yml expects the user to decribe programs to be used to build the test-suite.

# put this in test/pcvs.yml:
                files: ["coll/all-reduce.c"]
                program: "a.out"
                files: ["pt2pt/wave.c"]
                program: "a.out"

This file specifies two root nodes referred as Test Expressions (TE) or Test Descriptors (TD). It contains subondes describing how to build programs. A build gives informations about how to build the program. files (a list or a string) contains the whole list of files required to build the program (in case of a C file for instance). With no other information, PCVS will assume the program to be built with a compiler (no invocation to a build system here). A run subnode instructs PCVS to execute this program. The expected program name is a.out. This is the simplest way to integrate tests to PCVS. For a complete list of nodes to be used in a pcvs.yml, please consult TE nodes: The complete list


Beware of tabulations, YAML indentations only supports spaces !

Execute the test-suite

PCVS relies on (1) test specifications and (2) execution profile to create and execute a full benchmarks. Building a valid profile may be complex at first but offer a huge flexibility to solve complex validation scenarios. Still, most scenarios share similarities, like, in that case, running MPI programs. PCVS comes with default profiles for default scenarios. Here, we select the mpi base profile to build our own:

$ pcvs profile create --base mpi
$ pcvs profile list

By specifying, it will save the profile under ~/.pcvs/ and make it available for the whole $USER, no matter the current working directory used when running PCVS. To learn more about profile scope, please see Scope.


As this profile uses MPI, we need to source an MPI implementation in the environment. Please use the method suiting your needs (spack/module/source). If interested by autoloading spack-or-module-based MPI implementation, please read Profiles.

Now, start PCVS. You must provide the profile & the directory where tests are located:

$ pcvs run --profile my-profile ./tests/


the user. prefix to the profile name may be removed as there is no name ambiguity, PCVS will detect the proper scope.

Access the results

Results are stored in $PWD/.pcvs-build/rawdata/*.json by default. the default output directory may be changed with pcvs run –output. JSON files can directly processed by this-party tools. The scheme can be used to update the input parser with compliant output. Currently PCVS only provides specific JSON format. It is planned to support common validation format (like JUnit).

If no third-party tool is available, PCVS comes with a lightweight web server (=Flask) to serve results in a web browser:

# where pcvs run has been run:
$ pcvs report
# OR you may specify the run path
$ pcvs report <path>

Then, browse http://localhost:5000/ to browse your results.