Deep learning framework by the BVLC

Created by
Yangqing Jia
Lead Developer
Evan Shelhamer


Prior to installing, have a glance through this guide and take note of the details for your platform. We install and run Caffe on Ubuntu 16.04–12.04, OS X 10.11–10.8, and through Docker and AWS. The official Makefile and Makefile.config build are complemented by a community CMake build.

Step-by-step Instructions:


When updating Caffe, it’s best to make clean before re-compiling.


Caffe has several dependencies:

Optional dependencies:

Pycaffe and Matcaffe interfaces have their own natural needs.

cuDNN Caffe: for fastest operation Caffe is accelerated by drop-in integration of NVIDIA cuDNN. To speed up your Caffe models, install cuDNN then uncomment the USE_CUDNN := 1 flag in Makefile.config when installing Caffe. Acceleration is automatic. The current version is cuDNN v5; older versions are supported in older Caffe.

CPU-only Caffe: for cold-brewed CPU-only Caffe uncomment the CPU_ONLY := 1 flag in Makefile.config to configure and build Caffe without CUDA. This is helpful for cloud or cluster deployment.


Caffe requires the CUDA nvcc compiler to compile its GPU code and CUDA driver for GPU operation. To install CUDA, go to the NVIDIA CUDA website and follow installation instructions there. Install the library and the latest standalone driver separately; the driver bundled with the library is usually out-of-date. Warning! The 331.* CUDA driver series has a critical performance issue: do not use it.

For best performance, Caffe can be accelerated by NVIDIA cuDNN. Register for free at the cuDNN site, install it, then continue with these installation instructions. To compile with cuDNN set the USE_CUDNN := 1 flag set in your Makefile.config.

Caffe requires BLAS as the backend of its matrix and vector computations. There are several implementations of this library. The choice is yours:

Python and/or MATLAB Caffe (optional)


The main requirements are numpy and boost.python (provided by boost). pandas is useful too and needed for some examples.

You can install the dependencies with

for req in $(cat requirements.txt); do pip install $req; done

but we suggest first installing the Anaconda Python distribution, which provides most of the necessary packages, as well as the hdf5 library dependency.

To import the caffe Python module after completing the installation, add the module directory to your $PYTHONPATH by export PYTHONPATH=/path/to/caffe/python:$PYTHONPATH or the like. You should not import the module in the caffe/python/caffe directory!

Caffe’s Python interface works with Python 2.7. Python 3.3+ should work out of the box without protobuf support. For protobuf support please install protobuf 3.0 alpha ( Earlier Pythons are your own adventure.


Install MATLAB, and make sure that its mex is in your $PATH.

Caffe’s MATLAB interface works with versions 2015a, 2014a/b, 2013a/b, and 2012b.


Caffe can be compiled with either Make or CMake. Make is officially supported while CMake is supported by the community.

Compilation with Make

Configure the build by copying and modifying the example Makefile.config for your setup. The defaults should work, but uncomment the relevant lines if using Anaconda Python.

cp Makefile.config.example Makefile.config
# Adjust Makefile.config (for example, if using Anaconda Python, or if cuDNN is desired)
make all
make test
make runtest

To compile the Python and MATLAB wrappers do make pycaffe and make matcaffe respectively. Be sure to set your MATLAB and Python paths in Makefile.config first!

Distribution: run make distribute to create a distribute directory with all the Caffe headers, compiled libraries, binaries, etc. needed for distribution to other machines.

Speed: for a faster build, compile in parallel by doing make all -j8 where 8 is the number of parallel threads for compilation (a good choice for the number of threads is the number of cores in your machine).

Now that you have installed Caffe, check out the MNIST tutorial and the reference ImageNet model tutorial.

CMake Build

In lieu of manually editing Makefile.config to configure the build, Caffe offers an unofficial CMake build thanks to @Nerei, @akosiorek, and other members of the community. It requires CMake version >= 2.8.7. The basic steps are as follows:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make all
make install
make runtest

See PR #1667 for options and details.


Laboratory Tested Hardware: Berkeley Vision runs Caffe with Titan Xs, K80s, GTX 980s, K40s, K20s, Titans, and GTX 770s including models at ImageNet/ILSVRC scale. We have not encountered any trouble in-house with devices with CUDA capability >= 3.0. All reported hardware issues thus-far have been due to GPU configuration, overheating, and the like.

CUDA compute capability: devices with compute capability <= 2.0 may have to reduce CUDA thread numbers and batch sizes due to hardware constraints. Brew with caution; we recommend compute capability >= 3.0.

Once installed, check your times against our reference performance numbers to make sure everything is configured properly.

Ask hardware questions on the caffe-users group.