Registered 2008-02-10 by Lutz Gross

esys-escript is a programming tool for implementing mathematical models in python using the finite element method (FEM). As users do not access the data structures it is very easy to use and scripts can run on desktop computers as well as highly parallel supercomputer without changes. Application areas for escript include earth mantle convection, geophysical inversion, earthquakes, porous media flow, reactive transport, plate subduction, erosion, and tsunamis.

esys-escript is designed as an easy-to-use environment for implementing mathematical models based on non-linear, coupled, time-dependent partial differential equations. It uses the finite element method (FEM) for spatial discretization and data representation. Escript is used through python and is suitable for rapid prototyping (e.g for a student project or thesis) as well as for large software projects. Scripts are executed in parallel using MPI, OpenMP and hybrid mode processing over 50 million unknowns on several thousand cores on a parallel computer.

esys-escript now includes the esys.downunder module for 3D inversion of geophysical data sets. The current version supports gravity, magnetic and joint inversion.

Main Features:

        python based user interface
        two- and three-dimensional finite and spectral element simulations
        specialized geophysical inversion module
        support for VTK and SILO file format
        unstructured meshes from gmsh
        parallelization with OpenMP and MPI support
        Flux Controlled Transport solver (FEM-FCT)
        visualization with VisIt
        support for Linux and Mac
        partial support for GPU use

Further documentation including examples and a user guide for the latest release can be found at

The project is funded by the
   - AuScope National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) (until end of 2019)
   - Australian Geophysical Observing System (AGOS) (ended 2014).
   - School of Earth Sciences at the University of Queensland.

If you publish work which makes use of escript, we would appreciate if you would cite the following reference:

    author={Schaa, R. and Gross, L. and Du Plessis, J.},
    year =2016,
    title={PDE-based geophysical modelling using finite elements: examples from 3D resistivity and 2D magnetotellurics},
    journal = {Journal of Geophysics and Engineering},
  doi = {doi:10.1088/1742-2132/13/2/S59


        author = {L. Gross and L. Bourgouin and A. J. Hale and H.-B Muhlhaus},
        title = {Interface Modeling in Incompressible Media using Level Sets in Escript},
        journal = {Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors},
        year = 2007,
        volume = {163},
        pages = {23--34},
        month = {Aug.},
        doi = {doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2007.04.004},

        Lutz Gross
        Joel Fenwick
        Adam Ellery
        Andrea Codd
        Cihan Altinay
        Simon Shaw
        Jaco Du Plessis
        Ralf Schaa
        Peter Hornby
        Thomas Poulet
        Lin Gao
        Artak Amirbekyan
        Ken Steube

Project information

Apache Licence

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View full history Series and milestones

3.0+ series is the current focus of development.


Latest version is 5.5
released on 2020-06-01

All downloads


  • eSys-eScript 5.5 on 2020-02-06
    eSys-eScript version 5.5 has been released.
  • Version 5.4 on 2019-07-09
    esys-escript version 5.4 is now available for download.
  • Escript 5.3 Release on 2019-01-12
    The 5.3 version of esys-escript is now available for download . DOI: https://...
  • Escript 5.2 has been released on 2018-06-28
    Includes options files for building on lastest OSX versions of Homebrew and M...
  • Escript 5.1 on 2017-06-08
    The 5.1 version of escript is now available. Changes include better complex a...