Getting Started

What is SAMSON?

SAMSON is a software platform for computational nanoscience. Its generic, open architecture makes it suitable for material science, life science, physics, electronics, chemistry, and even education. The SAMSON application and the SAMSON SDK are developed by the OneAngstrom led by Stephane Redon. SAMSON stands for "Software for Adaptive Modeling and Simulation Of Nanosystems".

Simulation of 1PV7 in SAMSON

Current version

The current version of SAMSON is 0.8.4. As the major version number indicates, this is a beta version. Please refer to Versioning for more information about version numbers.

Supported platforms

SAMSON is available on the following platforms:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10
  • Linux
  • Mac OS X


For running SAMSON, a 64-bit operating system and a graphics card supporting OpenGL 3.2 are required. For NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards an appropriate driver with an OpenGL support should be installed.

If you experience problems with OpenGL libraries, please check the Installing OpenGL drivers on Linux section.

What are SAMSON Elements?

SAMSON has an open architecture which allows you to extend it, and adapt it to your needs, by downloading SAMSON Elements (modules) from the SAMSON Connect website. SAMSON Elements come in many flavors: apps, editors, controllers, models, parsers, etc., and are adapted to different application domains. SAMSON Elements help users build new models, perform calculations, run interactive or offline simulations, visualize and interpret results, and more.

Installing SAMSON

Please, check the Requirements.

To install SAMSON, download the SAMSON installer from this page on SAMSON Connect. You will be asked to sign in, or create an account if you don't have one. When you download the installer, a key will be sent to the email address you used for registration.

Start the SAMSON installer you just downloaded.

On Linux, open a terminal in the folder where you downloaded the SAMSON installer and execute the following commands:

chmod +x ./

Once the installer has started, you should see following window:

The SAMSON installer

Note: Intel graphics cards may currently cause issues. If you have one, the SAMSON installer will generate a warning. You may choose to ignore the warning, especially if you also have a non-Intel graphics card (NVIDIA or AMD).

After accepting the license agreement, you reach a page that allows you to configure a proxy, if necessary:

Enter proxy parameters if necessary

At this point, the SAMSON installer checks that it can reach SAMSON Connect (that SAMSON needs to install SAMSON Elements). If it can, this page shows the message "SAMSON Connect reached successfully". Else, you might have to enter proxy parameters (you may have to ask your system administrator for information). Use the "Test connection" button to check that the proxy parameters you entered are valid.

Next, the installer asks you to enter the email address you used to register, and the SAMSON key that was sent to you at that address when you downloaded the installer.

Enter your email address and the SAMSON key you received at that address

If you want, you may check the "Advanced mode" box to choose a custom installation path and specify which version of SAMSON you want to install (by default, the latest version is installed).

Then, the installer downloads SAMSON from SAMSON Connect, and installs it:

SAMSON is being downloaded from SAMSON Connect

Finally, the last page of the installer gives you the possibility to start SAMSON and visit SAMSON Connect:

SAMSON has been installed successfully

Starting SAMSON

Here is how you start SAMSON depending on your operating system.


On Windows, start SAMSON from the Start menu. Typing SAMSON in the search box might just lead you there. Else, SAMSON may be found in the SAMSON 0.8.4 folder.


On Mac, start SAMSON from the launchpad or from the Application folder.


SAMSON installs a convinience shortcut file on the Desktop.

On Linux, open a terminal, go to your Desktop folder and execute:


This is a link to the launching script in the SAMSON installation folder. You might need to make this file executable:

chmod +x ~/Desktop/SAMSON_0.8.4

You can also directly launch the script from the SAMSON installation folder path (it should be ~/OneAngstrom/SAMSON-Application/0.8.4/Binaries):


You may create an alias in your '~/.bashrc':

alias samson='$HOME/OneAngstrom/SAMSON-Application/0.8.4/Binaries/'

Now, open a new terminal and execute 'samson'.

In case you have issues on Linux with AMD/ATI graphics cards, please refer to the Troubleshooting section.

Extending SAMSON

The first time you start SAMSON, it downloads a set of default SAMSON Elements from SAMSON Connect. To customize your SAMSON installation from SAMSON Connect, simply sign in to your account, then go to the Elements section of SAMSON Connect to choose the SAMSON Elements you need. Please refer to this page for more information.


If you have trouble installing SAMSON and cannot find an answer below, please check the SAMSON Connect forum or contact us at

Installing OpenGL drivers on Linux

Please, check how to install GPU driver and OpenGL library for your platform.

Below are suggestion for Debian-based systems (e.g. Ubuntu).

First, to check which GPU you have run the following command in the terminal:

lspci | grep VGA

If you have NVIDIA or AMD graphics card, you can install their proprietary drivers. Please, check how to do it for you platform and your GPU.

If you have only an integrated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), you may see only something like:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation ... process Graphics Controller

In this case you might need to install Mesa.

First check whether you have Mesa with OpenGL already installed in your system:

glxinfo | grep OpenGL

To install Mesa execute the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dev mesa-utils

Running SAMSON on Linux with an AMD GPU

SAMSON requires a graphics card supporting OpenGL 3.2. To detect which GPU you have you may run several commands:

sudo lshw -c video
lspci -nn | grep VGA

SAMSON depends on and (to be precise, and, which are not provided by SAMSON and should be installed on your system. To check whether these libraries are installed on your system, you may run the following commands:

sudo updatedb

If you have no library in your system, you can make links to either the shipped with SAMSON, or to your system library, e.g. by compiz:

ln -s $HOME/OneAngstrom/SAMSON-Application/0.8.4/Binaries/SAMSONQtLibs/ $HOME/OneAngstrom/SAMSON-Application/0.8.4/Binaries/SAMSONQtLibs/


sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/compiz/ /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/

In the first case, you will need to create this link every time your SAMSON has been updated. If you have no library, you may create a link to, e.g. depending on where you have

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/


sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/mesa/ /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/

Otherwise, these libraries can be installed through a GPU driver or mesa. If, for example, you have Ubuntu 14.04 (up to Xorg 1.16) you may install the fglrx driver (we refer to").

For a newer version of Ubuntu, if you have a recent AMD GPU, you may install the AMDGPU Driver or the AMDGPU-PRO Driver. Alternatively, you may install mesa:

sudo apt-get install mesa-utils libgl1-mesa-dev