This is a C++/OpenCL implementation of the PCI SPH incompressible liquid, elastic matter, contractrile matter and liquid-impermeable membranes simulation algorithm applied to C. elegans locomotion

View the Project on GitHub openworm/sibernetic


Sibernetic is a fluid mechanics simulator developed for simulations of C. elegans in the OpenWorm project developed for the OpenWorm project by Andrey Palyanov, Sergey Khayrulin and Mike Vella as part of the OpenWorm team. Sibernetic provides an implementation of the PCISPH contractile matter algorithm for simulating muscle tissue and is applies to C. elegans locomotion.

When driven by Hodgkin Huxley dynamics contractile matter is called Electrofluid.

Sibernetic is primarily written in C++ and OpenCL, it also provides a Python API.

There is a separate effort lead by Giovanni Idili and Sergey Khayrulin to port this code to Java, as part of the Geppetto simulation framework.

Compiling / running (Linux/mac)


Install OpenCL on Ubuntu. We suggest you initially go with AMD OpenCL drivers as we have found these to be the most stable and complete. You can also try Intel's drivers. This step often causes problems, contact the openworm-discuss mailing list if you encounter issues. The AMD drivers include samples in /opt/AMDAPP/samples/opencl/bin which you can use to verify your OpenCL support is working.

You'll also need a variety of libraries. In ubuntu, install the dependencies with:

sudo apt-get install g++ python-dev freeglut3-dev nvidia-opencl-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libglew-dev python-numpy

Next, navigate to the Release folder and run:

make clean
make all

Mac: stay in the top-level folder and run:

make clean -f makefile.OSX
make all -f makefile.OSX

You should see an output which looks something like this:

Building file: ../src/PyramidalSimulation.cpp
Invoking: GCC C++ Compiler

more stuff...

Building target: Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics
Invoking: GCC C++ Linker
g++ -L/usr/lib -L/usr/lib/python2.7 -o "Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics"  ./src/PyramidalSimulation.o ./src/main.o ./src/owHelper.o ./src/owOpenCLSolver.o ./src/owPhysicsFluidSimulator.o ./src/owWorldSimulation.o   -lOpenCL -lpython2.7 -lrt -lglut -lGL -lGLU
Finished building target: Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics

Then navigate to the top-level folder in the hierarchy (e.g Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics) and set your PYTHONPATH:


Finally, to run, run the command:





You may need to make ./Release/Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics executable like so:

chmod +x ./Release/Smoothed-Particle-Hydrodynamics

If you do not run from the top-level folder you will see an error which looks something like this:

Compilation failed: 
"/tmp/", line 8: catastrophic error: cannot open source file
#include "src//owOpenCLConstant.h"

What's inside

Physical Algorithms:

There are two demo scenes generated for Sibernetic. The first one contains an elastic cube covered with liquid-impermeable membranes and liquid inside. The second one contains two elastic membranes attached to boundary (one of it has a liquid-impermeable membranes covering and another one hasn't such).

The second one contains two elastic membranes attached to a boundary (one of them has liquid-impermeable membranes covering them and the other one doesn't).

To switch between demos you need to press the 1 or 2 keys respectively. To pause simulation you may press space bar.


  1. B. Solenthaler, Predictive-Corrective Incompressible SPH. ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 28(3), 2009.
  2. M. Ihmsen, N. Akinci, M. Gissler, M. Teschner, Boundary Handling and Adaptive Time-stepping for PCISPH Proc. VRIPHYS, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 79-88, Nov 11-12, 2010.
  3. M. Becker, M. Teschner. Weakly compressible SPH for free surface flows // Proceedings of the 2007 ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics symposium on Computer animation, pages 209-217.

Main command options

To start Sibernetic with argument print in command prompt next ./Release/Sibernetic -whatever Available options:

 -no_g                 Run without graphics
 -l_to                 Save simulation results to disk.
 -l_from               Load simulation results from disk.
 -test                 Run some physical tests.
 -f <filename>         Load configuration from file ./configuration/<filename>.
 device=<device_type>  Trying to init OpenCL on device <type> it could be cpu or gpu 
                       default-ALL (it will try to init most powerful available device).
 timestep=<value>      Start simulation with time step = <value> in seconds.
 timelimit=<value>     Run simulation until <value> will be reached in seconds.
 leapfrog              Use for integration LeapFrog method
 -help                 Print this information on screen.

LeapFrog integration

Leapfrog is second order method insted of Semi-implicid Euler which we are using as default method for integration. For run simulation with Leapfro integration medhod print run command

./Release/Sibernetic leapfrog

Run simulation from configuration file

All configuration is stored in ./configuration folder there are two demo configuration demo1 and demo2 (demo1 is using as default demonstarative configuration). You can switch between two demo configurations directly inside the working Sibernetic - just push button '1' or '2' respectively. For run your configuration put you're configuration file into configuration folder and run Sibernetic with key

./Release/Sibernetic -f <configuration_file_name>. 

For run worm body simulation you need run Siberntic with key

./Release/Sibernetic -f worm

it load worm body configuration and init and run pyhon module which is responsible for muscle signal updating. If you want work with worm body configuration generator you should change branch to WormBodySimultion.

Control in graphical mode

If you run Sibernetic with graphic you can work with scene rotate and scaling by mouse. Also you several control button is available:

'Space' - pause simulation 
's'     - save current configuration into file ./configuration/snapshot/configuration_default you can run this
than (./Release/Sibernetic -f /snapshot/configuration_default).
'q' or 'Esc'     - quit the sibernetic
'1'     - run demo1 configuration
'2'     - run demo2 configuration

Configuration file format

Configuration file is consist from:

First 6 lines is spatial description of boundary box
[position] - contains information about position of all particles e.g.
1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1
[velocity] - contains infomation about velocityes of all particles e.g.
0 0 0 1
0 0 0 1
[connection] - contains infomation about elastic connection of all elastic particles e.g.
1   1.58649939377   1.1 0.0
7   1.58649939377   1.1 0.0
[membranes] - contains infomation about membranes e.g.
0   1   7
7   8   1
[particleMemIndex] - contains infomation about in which membranes elastic particle is includes e.g.

Saving to disk

You can run Sibernetic on gpu for this you should start Sibernetic with key device=gpu.

You may wish to save simulations to disk rather than visualise them (WARNING: This is buggy)

For record configuraton into file you need to run simulation with key -l_to - it create 3 new files at the folder ./buffers:

For view result you should run simulation with key -l_from - it get positions from position_buffer.txt file and draw evolution of system in time

Making videos (*nix)

If you run a simulation you may be interested in recording the graphical output. Making such videos is a bit tricky because they need to be speeded up, so far I have found the following two commands do a decent job (change folder names accordingly) after you have used a screen record program:

#If your video is in OGV  format (if you used recordmydesktop for instance), use the following script to convert to avi:

 # ogv to avi
 # Call this with multiple arguments
 # for example : ls *.{ogv,OGV} | xargs ogv2avi
 echo "Converting $N files !"
 for ((i=0; i<=(N-1); i++))
 echo "converting" $1
 mencoder "$1" -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -xvidencopts pass=1 -o $filename.avi
 shift 1
#make images from video
ffmpeg -i crawley_6.avi -r 0.05 -f image2 ~/Documents/tmp/output-%06d.jpg
#re-encode into video
ffmpeg -r 100 -i output-%06d.jpg -r 100 -vb 60M speeded_worm.mp4


If you have any question or have a problem with runing sibernetic please contact with us email me on or Or you can create the issues on github