JAGS is Just Another Gibbs Sampler. It is a program for analysis of Bayesian hierarchical models using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation not wholly unlike BUGS. JAGS was written with three aims in mind:

  • To have a cross-platform engine for the BUGS language

  • To be extensible, allowing users to write their own functions, distributions and samplers.

  • To be a platform for experimentation with ideas in Bayesian modeling

Interactive Usage

After connecting to ShARC (see Establishing a SSH connection), start an interactive session with the qrshx or qrsh command. To make JAGS available in this session, run one of the following module commands

module load apps/jags/4.2/gcc-4.9.4

You can now run the jags command

Welcome to JAGS 4.2.0 on Fri Nov 15 09:21:17 2019
JAGS is free software and comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY
Loading module: basemod: ok
Loading module: bugs: ok

The rjags and runjags interfaces in R

rjags and runjags are CRAN packages that provide an R interface to jags. They are not installed in R by default.

After connecting to ShARC (see :ref:ssh), start an interactive session with the :ref:qrshx command. Run the following module commands

module load apps/jags/4.2/gcc-4.9.4
module load apps/R/3.5.1/gcc-4.8.5

Launch R by typing R and pressing return. Within R, execute the following commands


and follow the on-screen inctructions. Answer y to any questions about the creation of a personal library should they be asked.

The packages will be stored in a directory called R within your home directory.

You should only need to run the install.packages commands once. When you log into the system in future, you will only need to run the module commands above to make JAGS available to the system.

You load the rjags packages the same as you would any other R package


If you received an error message such as

Error : .onLoad failed in loadNamespace() for 'rjags', details:
  call: dyn.load(file, DLLpath = DLLpath, ...)
  error: unable to load shared object '/home/te1st/R/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu-library/3.2/rjags/libs/rjags.so':
  libjags.so.3: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
Error: package or namespace load failed for 'rjags'

the most likely cause is that you forget to load the necessary modules before starting R.

Installation notes

Version 4.2

JAGS 4.2 was built with gcc 4.9.4