Starlab: A Software Environment for Collisional Stellar Dynamics

Piet Hut (IAS), Steve McMillan (Drexel U.), Jun Makino (U. Tokyo), Simon Portegies Zwart (U. of Amsterdam)

Welcome to Starlab

Starlab is a software package for simulating the evolution of dense stellar systems and analyzing the resultant data. It is a collection of loosely coupled programs (``tools'') linked at the level of the UNIX operating system. The tools share a common data structure and can be combined in arbitrarily complex ways to study the dynamics of star clusters and galactic nuclei.

Starlab features the following basic modules:

A novel aspect of Starlab is its very flexible external data representation, which guarantees that tools can be combined in arbitrary ways, without loss of data or internally-generated comments. Thus, two tools connected by UNIX pipes may operate on different portions of the same data set, even though neither understands the data structures, or even the physical variables, used by the other. Unknown data are simply passed through unchanged to the next tool in the chain.

This document briefly outlines the basic components of Starlab, describes how to obtain and install the software, and provides information on the use and internal organization of the major parts of the package.

Starlab presentation by Steve McMillan at MODEST-5c: PDF version, OpenOffice version, HTML version.

Overview of Starlab Starlab Tools Examples
The Kira integrator The SeBa stellar evolution module GRAPE Interface
Creating Your Own Tools Basic Starlab Structure Starlab Library Functions
Starlab Internals Policies Developers and Contributors
Research Images and Animations Events
Download and Install Starlab Starlab Versions Go to

Please send any comments or suggestions to starlab (at)