Configuring your workstation to run Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal Analyses
What is MPICH2?
MPICH2 is an open-source, freely available, portable implementation of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) – the standard for message-passing libraries. The “CH” comes from Chameleon, the portability layer used in the original MPICH. Source files, binary installers, information regarding collaborators, and support documentation are available from the Argonne National Laboratory, Mathematics and Computer Science Division website. A link is provided within the How to Download and Install MPICH2 section of this article.
When is MPICH2 Needed?
The Autodesk® Simulation installation provides everything necessary to use the program except for MPICH2 software. MPICH2 is a third-party application and is required only for the following two situations:
- For the analysis type, Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal, MPICH2 is used to pass information between the fluid flow processor and the thermal processor. This type of analysis cannot be run without first downloading and installing MPICH2.
- For distributed computing on a Windows cluster using the MUMPS sparse solver, MPICH2 needs to be installed on all machines in the cluster. Distributed computing is available for the following analysis types:
- Static Stress with Linear Material Models
- Mechanical Event Simulation (MES) with Nonlinear Material Models
- Static Stress with Nonlinear Material Models
- MES Riks Analysis
- Steady Fluid Flow (3D and 2D planar)
- Unsteady Fluid Flow (3D and 2D planar)
In this article, we will address Item 1 above. The information provided will enable you to install and configure MPICH2 on a single computer workstation running a Windows operating system and Autodesk Simulation, specifically for the purpose of enabling Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal analyses. Please note that a Multiphysics license of Autodesk Simulation is required to access and run this analysis type. It is not available for the Mechanical version of the product.
How to Download and Install MPICH2
The free MPICH2 software needs to be installed after installing the Autodesk Simulation software and before attempting to perform a Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal analysis.
Installation on the Windows Operating System
In order to install and configure MPICH2, you must be logged into your workstation as an administrator. Also, additional prompts for permission to continue, not listed in the procedure below, may appear due to User Access Control (UAC) in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Autodesk recommends disabling UAC for workstations running our modeling and analysis products.
- Download the appropriate MPICH2 version for your operating system. A single binary installer accommodates both x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) versions of Windows. Go to the MPICH2 homepage (http://www.mcs.anl.gov/research/projects/mpich2/) and click on the “[download]” link next to “Win X86_64 Binary” under the “RELEASES” heading.
Note: The preceding hyperlink is valid as of 6/6/2011. If this link becomes broken in the future, use a web search provider (such as Bing, Google, or Yahoo), and search for “MPICH2 download” to locate the download site. The current MPICH2 version, as of 6/6/2011, is 1.3.2p1.
- When prompted, choose to Save the installer.
If you do not see this dialog, check for a banner at the top of your web browser indicating that a download attempt has been blocked. Right-click on this message and choose to allow the download. Place the installer file in the folder of your choice.
- Make sure the option to close the dialog box when the download has completed is not checked. When the download is complete, the dialog box shown below will appear. Click the Run button.
- In the Welcome to the MPICH2 Setup Wizard dialog box that appears, click the Next > button.
An information dialog box appears. Click Next >.
Choose the I Agree radio button in the License Agreement dialog box and click Next >.
Enter a passphrase of your choosing in the Process Manager Setup dialog box. Be sure to write down your passphrase and keep it in a safe place. Click Next >.
Specify the installation folder of your choice (or accept the default location). Activate the Everyone radio button if you wish to make MPICH2 available to all workstation users. Alternatively, choose the Just me radio button if you are logged in using the only user account that will be running Autodesk Simulation.
Click Next > on the Confirmation Installation dialog box to proceed with the installation.
If a Firewall dialog pops-up and reports that features of the program have been blocked, click the Allow access button to continue.
Click the Close button on the Installation Complete dialog box.
- If you have other computers to which you will be installing MPICH2, copy the installer from your PC to the other machines, eliminating the need to download it again. Double-click the file to start the installation process and repeat steps 10 through 12 on each PC.
Note: MPICH2 will not operate when using a substitute drive (SUBST) to store the models. Similar to mapping a network drive via the NET USE command, SUBST allows a drive letter to be substituted for any network or local path and allows mapping to a subfolder of a drive share. However, MPICH2 is not compatible with this drive configuration and, therefore, will not work with models stored on a substitute drive. In other words, a model must be relocated to a drive or folder that is not a substitute drive prior to attempting a Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal analysis or prior to running an analysis on a Windows cluster using the MUMPS sparse solver (for distributed computing).
Set Up the Required System Variables
The PATH environment variable must be edited to include the MPICH2\bin folder path. Also, if you will be using the MUMPS solver for distributed computing, a new environment variable (ALGOR_MPICH2) must be defined.
- In the root level of the Windows Start Menu, right-click Computer or My Computer (depending upon your version of Windows) and click the Properties command
- Click on the Advanced tab or the Advanced system settings link (depending upon your version of Windows). A dialog box similar to the one shown below will appear.
- Click the Environment Variables button. A dialog box similar to the one shown below will appear. The Path variable we will be editing is highlighted in this image.
- Scroll down through the list of system variables in the bottom half of the dialog box, select the Path variable, and click the Edit button below the System variables list. The Edit System Properties dialog box shown below will appear.
- Be careful not to type a character while the Variable value is selected or the existing path will be deleted. If the value is accidentally lost, click the Cancel button and repeat step 4.
Click the New button below the System variables list. The Edit System Properties dialog box shown below will appear.
- Press the End key on your keyboard to move the cursor to the end of the Variable value. Type ";C:\Program Files\MPICH2\bin" (exclude quotes but include the semicolon as a delimiter). Note: Substitute the correct path if you chose to install MPICH2 to a different folder or drive.
- Click the OK button.
Type "ALGOR_MPICH2" (excluding quotes) into the Variable name field.
- Type "C:\Program Files\MPICH2" (excluding quotes) into the Variable value field.
- Click the OK button.
The following steps need only be completed once for each computer on which MPICH2 has been installed and must be done prior to attempting an analysis that required MPICH2.
- Open a Command window…
- For Windows XP, click the Run command on the Windows Start Menu. Type "CMD" in the input field and click the OK button.
- For Windows Vista or Windows 7, type "CMD" in the Search programs and files field within the Windows Start Menu and press the Enter key.
The command window shown below will appear.
- Type "smpd.exe –install" and press Enter. (smpd.exe is located in the MPICH2\bin folder and will be found and executed if the system Path variable has been correctly defined.)
- Type "mpiexec.exe –register" and press Enter. (mpiexec.exe is located in the MPICH2\bin folder and will be found and executed if the system Path variable has been correctly defined.)
- Type in your domain\username when prompted and press Enter.
- Enter your password when prompted and press Enter. Use your Windows login password, not the passphrase that was defined during the MPICH2 installation process. The password will not appear in the CMD window while you type it, so type carefully.
- Confirm your password when prompted and press Enter.
Set Firewall Exclusions
If a firewall is installed and turned on, such as the one that comes with Windows XP and later versions, it may block all TCP ports by default, which causes the MPICH2 application to fail. To solve this problem, use one of the following three methods:
- Turn off the firewall completely.
- Limit MPICH2 applications to a user-defined range of TCP ports by using the MPICH_PORT_RANGE environment variable and set the firewall to open the same range of TCP ports.
Add MPICH2 applications, and Autodesk applications that will be using MPICH2, to the exceptions list within your firewall settings. The following applications should be included:
From the MPICH2 installation, \bin folder…
From the Autodesk Simulation installation folder…
Assuming that you do not wish to disable the firewall, or are not permitted to do so, method 3 is recommended. It is the easiest to implement and keeps ports closed except when triggered by an excluded application.
The procedure for adding application exclusion to the Windows Firewall in Windows 7 is given below. For information regarding adding programs to the allowed/excluded applications list for different firewalls, consult the documentation for your specific firewall.
- Run the Windows Firewall applet within the Control Panel.
- Click the Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall link near the upper-left corner of the window. A list of allowed programs will appear.
- Click the Allow another program button. The following dialog box will appear.
Click the Browse button and navigate to the folder, C:\Program Files\MPICH2\bin. Substitute the actual path if you chose a different installation location.
Select the file, smpd.exe, and click the Open button.
Click the Add button.
Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time selecting the file, mpiexec.exe.
Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time browsing to the folder, C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Algor Simulation 20xx and selecting the file, ssap11ld.exe. Substitute the actual path if you chose a different installation location.
Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time selecting the file, srun11.exe.
Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time selecting the file, frun04.exe.
Close the Allow Programs and Windows Firewall dialog boxes.
You should now be able to successfully run a Transient Coupled Fluid Flow and Thermal analysis.