How to install Intel Compilers (icc, icpc, ifort)

Related: Use Intel compilers with cmake, make and load libraries

The Intel Parallel Studio XE suite includes the ifort, icc and icpc: the Fortran, C and C++ compilers among many other optional components. Here are the minimal options for use on a typical desktop PC.

  1. Download the Parallel Studio XE suite (26 MB installer, not the entire 4 GB file)
  2. Extract and run ./
  3. Select options below. These options take 555 MB to download, versus downloading the entire suite with things you may never use. They take about 20 minutes to download on a modest internet connection.

    • architecture: Intel64 (IA-32 is for old 32-bit CPUs)
    • Intel C++ Compiler
    • Intel Fortran Compiler
    • Intel MKL for C/C++
    • Intel MKL for Fortran
    • Intel MPI Library (optional)
    • GNU GDB
  4. Under /opt/intel/bin you’ll see the executables like ifort and icc, you might need to add this directory to your PATH in ~/.bashrc

Intel MKL install options

If you installed MKL prior to the Intel Compiler, be sure to select Intel MKL or it will uninstall your preexisting MKL! The Intel MKL options you may want for a desktop PC include

  • Intel MKL core libraries for C/C++
  • Intel TBB threading support
  • GNU C/C++ compiler support

  • Intel MKL core libraries for Fortran
  • GNU Fortran compiler support
  • Fortran 95 interfaces for BLAS and LAPACK

Select Intel compilers from CMake

FC=ifort CC=icc CXX=icpc cmake ..

To switch back to GNU or other compiler, you have to remove the CMake cached files. See page on using Intel compilers with CMake, Make and how to load libraries

Run Intel compiler programs

With programs using shared libraries (*.so) you need to source/run (compilervars.bat for Windows). On my computer, I do this by putting in my ~/.bashrc the line

source /opt/intel/bin/ intel64
source /opt/intel/mkl/ intel64

This is a normal part of using advanced compiler toolsets, Microsoft Visual Studio does the same thing with vsvars.bat and vcvars.bat.

Why use Intel compilers

To understand what Intel compilers can do for scaling your program from the desktop to supercomputer–or merely improve performance on your laptop, see Intel Compiler new user guide