Using Intel® MKL in your C# program


Some users have asked how to call and link the Intel® Math Kernel Library (Intel® MKL) functions from their C# programs. While the standard way of interfacing with third party software libraries from C# is well documented, some of the steps in interfacing with Intel MKL specifically may still be confusing. The attached source code package is intended to show how to navigate the whole process for Intel MKL users. These examples show how to create a custom DLL from Intel MKL libraries, call those functions from their C# source, and interface with that custom DLL.

Examples are provided for calling mkl from 5 intel MKL domains 
1. dgemm.cs - BLAS (CBLAS)
2. dgeev.cs - LAPACK
3. pardiso.cs - PARDISO direct sparse solver
4. dfti_d1.cs - DFTI (the FFT interface)
5. vddiv.cs - VML vector math library

Let's take the function "dgeev" as example, The function is a typical routine in the Linear Algebra PACKage (LAPACK). It computes the eigenvalues and left and reight eigenvectors of a general matrix. As LAPACK are Fortran interface, that means scalars are passed as references, and only Fortranstyle (column-major) matrices are allowed. Many LAPACK routines use work arrays. Some array arguments may be not referenced for certain condition.   The interface in C# is like below 

[DllImport("mkl.dll", CallingConvention=CallingConvention.Cdecl)]
static extern void dgeev(ref char jobvl, ref char jobvr,
ref int n, [In, Out] double[] a, ref int lda,
[Out] double[] wr, [Out] double[] wi,
[Out] double[] vl, ref int ldvl, [Out] double[] vr, ref int ldvr,
[In, Out] double[] work, ref int lwork, ref int info);

In this LAPACK routine vr is not referenced if jobvr = 'N', and vl is not referenced if jobvl = 'N'. The 
user  can  pass  a "null"  value  in  the  case  unreferenced  arguments.  It  does  not  matter  for  automatic 
pinning but it may require additional efforts to check null values in case of passing arrays as pointers 
with fixed keyword within unsafe block. 

Building the Examples

Follow these steps to build the example programs:

  • unzip the contents of the attached zip file
  • Open a Microsoft Visual Studio command prompt or add the Microsoft.NET Framework to the PATH environment variable in another command prompt
  • Run the build script (makefile) using nmake

          >"C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel_sw_development_tools\compilers_and_libraries\windows\mkl\bin\mklvars.bat" ia32
          >nmake ia32 

  • The makefile provides further explanation of the parameters in comments

This will create custom DLL mkl.dll, which include the used functions and several executables for each of the example programs.

Example files:

Building the Examples with  Intel® MKL Single Dynamic Library

Dynamic interface libraries have been added since Intel MKL 10.3 for improving linkage from C#. It is not required to build a custom DLL. The Intel MKL library named mkl_rt.dll can be called directly from C# code. Below is an updated version of the examples. Follow the same steps and run the nmake command.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel_sw_development_tools\compilers_and_libraries\windows\mkl\bin\mklvars.bat" ia32
make ia32 

Example files:

Examples with Complex Data Types

The below examples are provided for calling complex data types  from 3 intel MKL domains 
1. cscal.cs - BLAS (CBLAS)
2. cgemm.cs - LAPACK
3. LAPACKE_zgesv.cs - C interface LAPACK function

There is an informative discussion in MKL Forum, please read the thread. It includes several issues:

1) System.Numerics Complex type

If you use System.Numerics Complex type, it corresponds to Z  type in MKL function : complex, double precision(64bit, 8 bytes)

for example, LAPACKE_zgesv, not LAPACKE_cgesv

2) Use the large Array >2G

2.1) .NET allow allocate large array since .NET 4.5, by set the gcAllowVeryLargeObjects = true into the config file.

2.2) when passing large array to native space, the default marshaling doesn't allow large array > 2Bb.  One workaround is to pin the array and pass a pointer to its first element to the native function with the fixed keyword:

using System.Numerics;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

 internal sealed unsafe class CNative
  private CNative() {}

 /**  native LAPACKE_zgesv declaration */
    [DllImport("mkl_rt.dll", CallingConvention=CallingConvention.Cdecl,
      ExactSpelling=true, SetLastError=false)]
    internal static extern int LAPACKE_zgesv(
    int matrix_layout, 
    int n,
    int nrhs,
    Complex* A,
    int lda,
    int[] ipiv,
    Complex* B,
    int ldb

public unsafe sealed class LAPACK
/** LAPACKE_zgesv wrapper */
  public static int zgesv(int matrix_layout, int n, int nrhs,
   Complex[] A, int lda, int[] ipiv,
   Complex[] B, int ldb)
      fixed (Complex* pA = &A[0])
      fixed (Complex* pB = &B[0])
      // fixed (int* pipiv = &ipiv[0])
   return CNative.LAPACKE_zgesv(matrix_layout, n, nrhs, pA, lda,
      ipiv, pB, ldb);
For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.


Baran A.'s picture


The links don't work. Could somebody please guide me where else I can find the examples. I really need them. Thak you.

Max V.'s picture

How come the example2 zip link is not working?



Max V.'s picture

Hi guys,

Is the link broken? I am trying to download and it says the file is not found.

Any idea?


Shibin B's picture

We are developing a finite element analysis application involving matrix calculations. We are hoping to use MKL from Intel for our requirements.
We need to calculate

• Matrix Inverse
• Matrix Multiplication
• Matrix solving

Input matrix dimensions will be in the order of 10^8

We would like to know will MKL library be able to handle such inputs and calculations.

The download worked fine for me; I used Firefox.

Please update the makefile included in, since it will not work with the directory layout of current versions of MKL (11.3). Change all instances of "em64t" to "intel64", and switch the order of "$@" and "lib" in the LIB setting; that is, change

set lib=%%MKLROOT%%\$@\lib;%%lib%%
set lib=%%MKLROOT%%\lib\$@;%%lib%%

anonymous's picture

Can't download the examples, on both IE and Chrome. Clicking on the links simply don't download files.

James Bond's picture

Links to example files are dead

anonymous's picture

"Dynamic interface libraries have been added in Intel MKL 10.3 for improved linkage from C#. It is not required to build a custom DLL. The Intel MKL library named mkl_rt.dll can be called directly from C# code."

I have Visual Studio 2010, I should be able to build the examples from within VS without the need to use nmake from a command prompt. What do I need to do in VS to be able to build for example the dfti_d1.cs example, assume I will change the examples Main() function to Go() and call it from FormLoad() from within a Win Forms application.

It is not possible to add the mkl_rt.dll via add references as it doesn't appear to be a valid assembly, therefore there must be another way to get VS to pick the mkl_rt.dll up and use it?

Ying H. (Intel)'s picture

Hello trombif,

Your question look not about how to call MKL functioon in C#, but the run result is not inconsistant in run and run on same platform, right?

Could you submit the problem to MKL forum <>?
where many users may be share their ideas.

Ying H.

trombif's picture

I am using eigen values/vectors decomposition DSYEV in mkl for a university project and I need results to be reproductible.
I wrote a little wrapper (according to examples) to call DSYEV from C# :

namespace Front_toolbox_v2
class Solve
public double[,] decompo(double[,] A)
int lwork = -1;
int n = A.GetLength(0);
int lda = n;

double[] A_bis = new double[n * n];
double[] w = new double[n];
for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
int cte = i * n;
for (int j = 0; j < n; j++)
A_bis[cte + j] = A[j, i];

lwork = -1;
double[] work_1 = new double[1];
int info = LAPACK_mkl.dsyev('V', 'U', n, A_bis, lda, w, work_1, lwork);
lwork = (int)work_1[0];
double[] work = new double[lwork];
info = LAPACK_mkl.dsyev('V', 'U', n, A_bis, lda, w, work, lwork);

double[,] res2 = new double[n, n + 1];
for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
res2[i, 0] = w[i];
for (int j = 0; j < n; j++)
res2[i, j + 1] = A_bis[i + j * n];
return res2;

namespace mkl
public sealed class LAPACK_mkl
private LAPACK_mkl() { }

public static int dsyev(char jobz, char uplo, int N, double[] A, int LDA, double[] w, double[] work, int lwork)
int num = Environment.ProcessorCount;
LAPACKNative.omp_set_num_threads(ref num);

int info = -1;
LAPACKNative.dsyev(ref jobz, ref uplo, ref N, A, ref LDA, w, work, ref lwork, ref info);
return info;

/** LAPACK native declarations */
internal sealed class LAPACKNative

[DllImport("libiomp5md", EntryPoint = "omp_set_num_threads")]
internal static extern void omp_set_num_threads(ref int num);

[DllImport("libiomp5md", EntryPoint = "kmp_set_warnings_off")]
internal static extern void kmp_set_warnings_off();

[DllImport("mkl", EntryPoint = "DSYEV", CallingConvention = CallingConvention.Cdecl), SuppressUnmanagedCodeSecurity]
internal static extern void dsyev(ref char jobz, ref char uplo, ref int n, double[] A, ref int lda, double[] w, double[] work, ref int lwork, ref int info);

private LAPACKNative()
int num = Environment.ProcessorCount;
omp_set_num_threads(ref num);

I red something about memory alignment and 16-byte boundaries... does this apply here ?
Thank you for any answer or comment on my code


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