Getting Started

Welcome to the documentation for Netket 3.0.

Please read the release notes to see what has changed since the last release.

Installation and requirements

Netket v3.0 requires python>= 3.8 and optionally a recent MPI install. To install, run one of the two following commands

pip install netket

If you want to run NetKet on a GPU, you must install a GPU-compatible jaxlib. For that, we advise you to look at the instructions on jax repository, however at the time of writing, this means you should run the following command:

pip install --upgrade "jax[cuda]" -f

Where the jaxlib version must correspond to the version of the existing CUDA installation you want to use. Refer to jax documentation to learn more about matching cuda versions with python wheels.

To query the installed netket version you can run the following command in your shell

python -e "import netket; print(netket.version)"


If you want to use MPI, you will need to have a working MPI compiler. You can install the dependencies necessary to run with MPI with the following command:

pip install "netket[mpi]"

Subsequently, NetKet will exploit MPI-level parallelism for the Monte-Carlo sampling. See this block to understand how NetKet behaves under MPI.

Apple M1 (ARM)

NetKet works natively on Apple M1 Arm computers. At the moment it is not possible to install it with pip on those machines because one of our dependencies, Numba, is not available yet. However, assuming you have conda installed, you can run the following command:

conda install -c conda-forge netket

This will also install the set of MPI-related dependencies.


Netket is a numerical framework written in Python to simulate many-body quantum systems using variational methods. In general, netket allows the user to parametrize quantum states using arbitrary functions, be it simple mean-field ansatze, Jastrow, MPS ansatze or convolutional neural networks. Those states can be sampled efficiently in order to estimate observables or other quantities. Stochastic optimisation of the energy or a time-evolution are implemnented on top of those samplers.

Netket tries to follow the functional programming paradigm, and is built around jax. While it is possible to run the examples without knowledge of [jax], we strongly reccomend getting familiar with it if you wish to extend netket.

This documentation is divided into several modules, each explaining in-depth how a sub-module of netket works. You can select a module from the list on the left, or you can read the following example which contains links to all relevant parts of the documentation.

Jax/Flax extensions

Netket v3 API is centered around flax, a jax library to simplify the definition and usage of Neural-Networks. If you want to define more complex custom models, you should read Flax documentation on how to define a Linen module. However, you can also use jax.example_libraries.stax or haiku.

Flax supports complex numbers but does not make it overly easy to work with them. As such, netket exports a module, netket.nn which re-exports the functionality in flax.nn, but with the additional support of complex numbers. Also netket.optim is a re-export of flax.optim with few added functionalities.

Lastly, in netket.jax there are a few functions, notably jax.grad and jax.vjp adapted to work with arbitrary real or complex functions, and/or with MPI.

Legacy API support (API before 2021)

With the 3.0 official release in the beginning of 2021, we have drastically changed the API of Netket, which are no longer compatible with the old version.

Netket will ship a copy of the old API and functionalities under the legacy submodule. To keep using your old scripts you should change your import at the top from import netket as nk to import netket.legacy as nk.

While you can keep using the legacy module, we will remove it sometime soon with version 3.1, so we strongly advise to update your scripts to the new version. To aid you in updating your code, a lot of deprecation warning will be issued when you use the legacy api suggesting you how to update your code.

While it might be annoying, the new API allows us to have less code to maintain and grants more freedom to the user when defining models, so it will be a huge improvement.

Some documentation of the legacy module can be found in this section Legacy Random Generation, but please be advised that it is no longer-supported and documentation will probably be of poor quality.

For more information on new features and API changes, please consult Whats New.


If you were using the previous version of NetKet, we strongly advise you to read Whats New as it lists several changes that might otherwise pass unnoticed.

Commented Example

import netket as nk
import numpy as np

The first thing to do is import NetKet. We usually shorten it to nk.

g = nk.graph.Hypercube(length=20, n_dim=1, pbc=True)

Then, one must define the system to be studied. To do so, the first thing to do is usually defining the lattice of the model. This is not always required, but it can sometimes avoid errors. Several types of Lattices (graphs) are defined in the Graph submodule.

In the example above we chose a 1-Dimensional chain with 20 sites and periodic boundary conditions.

hi = nk.hilbert.Spin(s=1 / 2, N=g.n_nodes)
ha = nk.operator.Ising(hilbert=hi, graph=g, h=1.0)

Then, one must define the hilbert space and the hamiltonian. Common options for the Hilbert spacee are Spin, Fock or QuBit, but it is also possible to define your own. Those classes are contained in the The Hilbert module submodule.

The hamiltonian sub-module contains several pre-built hamiltonian, such as Ising and Bose-Hubbard, but you can also build the operators yourself by summing all the local terms. See the Operators documentation for more informations.

ma = nk.models.RBM(alpha=1, dtype=float)

sa = nk.sampler.MetropolisLocal(hi, n_chains=16)

Then, one must chose the model to use as a Neural Quantum State. Netket provides a few pre-built models in the Pre-built models sub-module. Netket models are simply [Flax] modules: check out the define-your-model section for more informations on how to define or use custom models. We specify dtype=float (which is the default, but we want to show it to you) which means that weights will be stored as double-precision. We advise you that Jax (and therefore netket) does not follow completely the standard NumPy promotion rules, instead treating float as a weak double-precision type which can _loose_ precision in some cases. This can happen if you mix single and double precision in your models and the sampler and is described in Jax:Type promotion semantics.

Hilbert space samplers are defined in the Sampler submodule. In general you must provide the constructor of the hilbert space to be sampled and some options. In this case we ask for 16 markov chains. The default behaviour for samplers is to output states with double precision, but this can be configured by specifying the dtype argument when constructing the sampler. Samples don’t need double precision at all, so it makes sense to use the lower precision, but you have to be careful with the dtype of your model in order not to reduce the precision.

# Optimizer
op = nk.optimizer.Sgd(learning_rate=0.01)

You can then chose an optimizer from the optimizer submodule. You can also use an arbitrary flax optimiser, or define your own.

# Variational monte carlo driver
gs = nk.VMC(ha, op, sa, ma, n_samples=1000, n_discard_per_chain=100), out=None)

Once you have all the pieces together, you can construct a variational monte carlo optimisation driver by passing the constructor the hamiltonian and the optimizer (which must always be the first two arguments), and then the sampler, machine and various options.

Once that is done, you can run the simulation by calling the run method in the driver, specifying the output loggers and the number of iterations in the optimisation.