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How to Fix Kernel Error in Jupyter Notebook

Jupyter Notebook is an open-source framework that comes under Anaconda software. It is a free cloud-based interactive platform used for computing in different types of languages. It is used for data analysis, visualizations, numerical calculations and simulations, equations, executing codes, machine learning, and sharing data easily. So, while performing any of such tasks, you may have encountered some errors at some point in time. One such error is the kernel error in Jupyter Notebook. This issue can be frustrating, especially when you are working on an important project and have to deal with some critical datasets.

In this article, we will be reading about the basic concepts of kernels and their various causes for errors. Also, we will see some of the specific scenarios that arise due to kernel errors, along with their diagnostic ways and troubleshooting techniques or steps that can be taken to identify and remove such errors. Moreover, we will also deal with working with alternative kernels.

What is a kernel?

Generally, the term “kernel” has several meanings depending on the context. Conceptually, a “kernel” often refers to a core component of an operating system (eg: Windows, Linux, MacOS) or a foundational part of certain software computing systems. It serves as an intermediary or a bridge between hardware and software, manages all the system resources, and provides essential services for running the processes.

Coming to its relation with the Jupyter Notebook, acts as an engine that does all the computations for the codes written in the cells in specific programming languages such as Python, R, Perl, etc. It interprets the results and then, communicates it back to the notebook interface.

What is a kernel Error?

While working with the kernel on any platform, it’s very obvious that we may sometimes encounter some errors. These errors are called kernel errors. A kernel error is an error that occurs when the kernel of your program crashes or becomes unresponsive while executing any code due to an error.

Why Does a Kernel Error Happen?

There are several reasons why a kernel error may occur. Here are some of the most common causes:

  1. Memory-Related issues: Memory-related issues in the kernel occur due to many reasons. They can be Memory (OOM) errors which arise when the kernel runs out of available memory while executing code, performance degradation in which a notebook occupies a significant amount of memory, memory leaks in the notebook, or the use of a large number of datasets which becomes insufficient to handle for the notebook.
  2. Outdated or corrupted installations: Kernel error also occurs due to outdated or corrupted installation of some of its dependencies. There can be some missing or incompatible libraries or dependencies which leads to kernel’s ill performance. Few of the corrupted files in the notebook may also lead to errors. Along with these, any mismatch installation of kernel and the Jupyter Notebook may also lead to malfunctioning and can cause error.
  3. Software: Kernel error due to conflicts with some of the packages or software occurs due to version incompatibility between some of the packages and software, package overwriting and shadowing feature, issue of circular dependencies between two or more packages which forms a loop, their environmental conflicts and some of the missing dependencies.
  4. Bugs in the code: Kernel error in Jupyter Notebook can occur due to bugs or issues in the code which you are executing in your notebook. This can be caused due to programming mistakes, syntax errors, logical errors, runtime errors or incorrect uses of libraries and functions.

If you encounter such issues and errors. then no need to panic. Because if there is a problem, there has to be a solution for it.

How to Fix Kernel Error in Jupyter Notebook?

Below are some of the steps which you may take to diagnose the problems related to kernel.

1. Update Anaconda

Since we all know that Jupyter Notebook is a framework of Anaconda software, so, first step is to deal with Anaconda. You can update Anaconda by opening the Anaconda Navigator and clicking on the “Update” button next to the Anaconda distribution, or you can use the following command in your terminal:

conda update anaconda

2. Update JupyterNotebook

Next, you may need to update your Jupyter Notebook to the latest version. To update Jupyter Notebook, use the “pip install –upgrade jupyter” command in the terminal. This will install the latest version of Jupyter Notebook and fix any issues with the installation.

pip install –upgrade jupyter

3. Restart the Kernel

The next step which you may take is to restarting your Jupyter Notebook’s kernel. You may do this by choosing the “Restart Kernel” option under the “Kernel” menu from the notebook toolbar.

4. Reinstall the kernel

The next step is to reinstall the kernel. To do this, go to the “Kernel” menu in the notebook and click on “Restart & Clear Output”. Next, go to the “Kernel” menu again and click on “Change kernel”. Finally, select the kernel you want to use and click on “Set Kernel“.

5. Check for any of the conflicting Packages or Software

Conflicts with other packages can occasionally result in kernel faults. Use the “pip list” command in the terminal to view all the installed packages and their versions and to check for conflicts. Look for any incompatible or out-of-date packages that require updating.

pip list command will list all the python packages installed in an environment, along with their specific versions and locations.

There are certain factors which leads to such conflicts. For example, dependency issues which may arise due to any latest updates or any software installation. But, it can be addressed with the help of some package management tools like ‘apt’, ‘yum’ or ‘dnf’ to check for any broken dependencies. And, afterwards, this may lead to upgrading or downgrading the specific packages to their compatible versions.

Moreover, if one has installed any third party drivers for hardware components such as graphics card or wifi, they need to check their compatibility too with the system’s kernel. Uninstalling or disabling problematic drivers or checking the hardware manufacturer’s website for updated drivers may help in resolving the conflicts between them. Also, some of the kernel errors are related to conflicts between loaded kernel modules. One can investigate loaded modules using the lsmod command.

lsmod command gives the result of loaded modules as well as displays the status of modules in the Linux kernel.

On the other hand, if one has multiple versions of Python or packages installed on its system, then, this may also lead to kernel crash or errors. So, to deal with this, one can create a new virtual environment using virtual environment managers like Anaconda or Virtualenv on its system, which will isolate Python and the packages from other versions installed on the computer.

6. Check for any Errors in Code

The next step is to check the code for faults if restarting the kernel does not resolve the issue. Check for syntax errors, missing parenthesis, and other typical coding issues. To test if the error still occurs, you may also try executing the code in a different environment.

7. Check Memory Usage

Memory problems are another frequent reason for kernel faults. Too much memory usage by your code can result in a kernel crash. Use the Python “psutil” module to view the memory use. You can use this package to keep track of the system’s memory utilization and determine whether your code is using too much memory.

psutil, or python system and process utilities, is a library that provides an interface for retrieving information on system utilization and managing system-related tasks.

Apart from this, one can also manually check for any kernel errors on their Windows operating system by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc under the Task Manager, while on macOS, one can open the Activity Monitor by searching for it in the Spotlight.

Kernel errors due to memory-related issues may occur due to various reasons. For example, memory leaks, which can lead to kernel errors over a period of time. One can keep a check on this using tools like ‘Valgrind’ which helps in analyzing the application’s memory leaks. Inspecting system logs for any memory-related errors or updating or restarting any suspectible application to a more stable version, can also help in managing memory usage.

Also, certain monitor swap usage tools like ‘free’, ‘top’, or ‘htop’ used for optimizing space swapping, can also result to be advantageous to this.

Along with this, if one finds the memory usage to be too high, they can adapt closing any unnecessary programs or browser or application which are not in use to free-up the memory, also, reducing the size of the large datasets while working with them, may also lessen the memory usage. However, if one is frequently encountering memory-related issues, they may need to upgrade their computer’s memory.

8. Ask For Help

Apart from these, you may also explore several communities such as Stack Overflow, by posting your queries with all the relevant proofs and wait for someone to come and help you out.

Specific Kernel Errors Scenarios

Specific kernel error scenarios are situations or instances in an operating system when some errors or defects occurs in the operating system. These scenarios varies from system to system and leads to several malfunctioning in the OS. Some of the specific kernel error scenarios are described below:

  1. Kernel Panic: It is said to be the hazardous kernel error scenario which basically occurs in Linux/Unix operating system. It is caused due to hardware isues, corrupted system, faulty software or files and driver problems.
  2. Deadlock: It is also one of the scenarios of kernel error. Deadlock is a situation in an operating system which arises when one or more than one threads or processes forms a loop handling the resources, and also, waiting for the other resources too to be acquired to them which are somewhere occupied by some other processes, simultaneously. It may result in the system to hang or freeze, making it difficult to even restart.
  3. Page Fault: This scenario arises when an access to a page through an application is requested which is basically not present in the main memory, i.e. RAM, instead its somewhere in the virtual memory. As a result, this leads to application crash and degradation issues in the system.
  4. Segmemtation Fault: Segmentation Fault, or SegFault, is basically a programming error scenario which arises when a program tries to access a memory location to which it is never allocated. It leads to programming bugs and some of the memory-related issues in the system.
  5. Device Driver Error: This occurs when a hardware device encounters any sort of errors or conflict, or it becomes incompatible or outdated for the system. As a result, the system experiences failures and crashes itself.
  6. Hardware Failures: Another one such specific kernel error scenario is that of hardware failure. This includes malfunctioning RAM or other modules or defects in the hard drive of the system.

However, to understand these errors more precisely, some more depth knowledge of various types of systems is required. But, their early diagnostic steps to resolve and to stop them from becoming more serious, has to be implemented consciously.

Working with Alternative Kernels

Working with alternative or multiple kernels, basically in the context of Jupyter Notebook, is the ability to use multiple programming languages within the same single jupyter notebook. It encompasses flexibility, portability and ability to handle specific use cases without reinstallation of another operating system multiple times. One system can have multiple kernels for its various uses according to its requirements and needs. Through this process, you will be installing and removing kernels from your operating system, also, with the help of this, you will be able to see the lists of all types of kernels which your system is carrying with it.

Similarly, if you want to add or work with multiple alternative kernels such as Python, R, Julia, etc. in Jupyter Notebook, you can do it very easily. Since, here R programming language is used, following steps can be taken for adding an alternative Julia kernel in Jupyter Notebook.

Step 1: Install R

First of all, you need to install R in your system. For this, you can use the link in your web browser and, then after install it as per your system type.

Step 2: Install the IRKERNEL package in R

Now, open R terminal in your system and type the following commands to install the ‘IRkernel‘ package in R.


IRkernel is an open-source software package that provides an interface for running R programming language in Jupyter Notebook

After downloading the ‘IRkernel’ Kernel, run this command to add the kernel:

IRkernel::installspec(user = FALSE)

The user = FALSE argument installs the kernel system-wide, making it available for all users on the system. If you want to install it only for your user, set user = TRUE.

This will add R kernel to your Jupyter Notebook.

Step 4: Select a Kernel to your notebook

When you create a new notebook or open an existing one, you can select the kernel you want to use from the “Kernel” menu. The available kernels will be listed, and you can choose the one you installed earlier.

Step 5: Run code in Different languages

Once you’ve selected a kernel, you can write and execute code in the chosen language within your Jupyter Notebook cells. Each cell in the notebook can have a different kernel, allowing you to mix and match languages as needed.

Note: If you want to work with more languages or environments, you can install additional kernels following the same process as described previously.

Common Kernel Errors

Some of the common kernel errors which you may have experienced or can experience in future, are shown and described below:

  1. System Thread Exception not Handled: This kernel error basically occurs in Windows operating system. When a system’s thread in unable to handle the exceptions properly, this error is raised. It can be caused due to driver issues, faulty hardwares or any software conflicts in the system.
  2. Kernel security check Failure: This kernel error also occurs in Windows operating system. It occurs when the system becomes vulnerable to security attacks. It is caused due to any sort of software conflicts or driver issues in the system.
  3. Unexpected kernel mode Trap: This also occurs in Windows operating system. It is typically caused due to incompatible or outdated hardware devices’ driver in the system.
  4. Kernel Inpage error: This error also occurs in Windows operating system. It indicates that a page of memory from the paging file could not be read or loaded by the system. It can be connected to file system or hard drive troubles.
  5. Clock watchdog Timeout: This error occurs in Windows as well as Linux operating system. It is typically occurred due to CPU-related issues, such as overheating, hardware failures, or overclocking problems.

Diagnosing Kernel Errors

The primary objective or goal behind diagnosing kernel errors is to identify and understand the root cause for the occurrence of the problem. It is typically the very first step taken in case of kernel errors. This process involves investigating the error codes, examining system logs, analyzing error messages, and using diagnostic tools to gather information about what caused the kernel error. And as an outcome of this, we have a clear understanding about why these errors occurred.

Some of the common diagnostic processes are:

  1. Review error messages: Read any error messages that may have appeared on the screen during the kernel error carefully. These notifications frequently include explanations of the issue, filenames, and error numbers. Take note of this information because it may contain hints concerning the cause.
  2. Check for BIOS/UEFI Updates: Kernel errors can also happen due to outdated or buggy firmware (BIOS/UEFI). To identify and rectify this, check for any firmware updates available in the motherboard manufacturer’s website.
  3. Check for Malware: Run a full system scan using reliable antivirus and anti-malware software to ensure that malware isn’t causing kernel-level issues.
  4. Examine system logs: Use Windows’ “Event Viewer” to look for error messages or events that match the kernel error in the system and application logs and, on Linux look through the system logs, such as syslog or journalctl for any error or warning messages.
  5. Perform clean boot: On Windows, perform a clean boot to start the system with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This can help identify software conflicts.

Troubleshooting Errors

The primary goal or objective of troubleshooting is to fix or resolve the kernel error based on the diagnosis made. This includes more practical steps to be taken for resolving and eliminating the problem after the diagnosis has been made. Taking precise steps to address the underlying problems found during diagnosis is known as troubleshooting. This could involve installing or upgrading drivers, configuring hardware, applying software updates, or changing other aspects of the system configuration. The outcome of this results in the resolution of the kernel error, if the troubleshooting process is successful.

Some of the basic troubleshooting steps are describes below:

  1. Apply System Updates: Troubleshooting kernel errors ensures the operating system to stay updated with the latest security patches, upgraded system’s firmware and new updates.
  2. Remove or disable problematic softwares: Any software or drivers that you feel may be creating conflicts or instability should be removed or disabled. To isolate software incompatibilities, use a clean boot to start your system with the fewest drivers and startup programs possible.
  3. Ensure that the motherboard is firmly linked to all hardware parts, including cables, RAM, and graphics cards. or Any recent hardware or software modifications that occur at the same time as kernel faults should be undone or reversed.
  4. Restore from a backup: Restoring back the system from its recent backup to an error free state, can also help in troubleshooting the kernel errors.
  5. Monitor for Recurrence: After applying troubleshooting steps, monitor your system for a while to see if the kernel errors persist. If they do, you may need to revisit the diagnostic and troubleshooting processes to identify and address the root cause.

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