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Monthly Archives: November 2012





This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Tim Smith, Director of Design Engineering at Altair ProductDesign.

I am sure we are all familiar with the standard marketing come-on of getting something for free, a free lunch, weekend get-away or perhaps, in its most effective form, free beer. I am sure we are equally familiar with the standard response to these come-ons that “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” For us engineers who need to take weight out of our products, I think what follows may be the closest thing to a free lunch that we can get. If you can spare me a few minutes, I will explain. Read More





If you ever used a workload manager to schedule commercial software runs on a computing environment, you almost certainly faced the problem of software license competition: you really need to only let a job run when there are available licenses.

Many commercial job schedulers offer a “dynamic resource” mechanism to handle such cases and PBS Professional does as well.  But, in addition, PBS Professional offers the ability to use a plug-in to handle corner cases and complex license requirements, not easily expressed in terms of resources.

A PBS Professional plug-in is a script associated to an event, and in the case of license scheduling we can leverage the “runjob” event: this happens when a job is found able to run on the available resources, just before it is effectively dispatched. “Runjob” is a good time to check for certain health status information on the nodes selected for running the job, to check for accounting information (has the user enough allocation units left?), and in our case, to check for license availability.

The flow would be:

1. Job is submitted asking for a certain amount of “scheduling resources” (ie. ncpus, memory) and holds also the necessary information to express the license needs (ie. license server pointer, needed amount of features) but license related resources are not used by the scheduler.

2. When scheduler finds there are enough scheduling resources available, job is dispatched.

3. Just before dispatch, the “runjob” event is evaluated: as the plug-in is able to look into job data, it reads the licensing information, connects to the license server and lets the job be dispatched only if enough licenses are available (taking care to also minimize race conditions, for instance throttling the amount of jobs dispatched per minute).

Of course this is not perfect (as the dynamic resource mechanism, anyway), but I found I could handle tricky commercial software license requests without placing load in the scheduling mechanism (for instance license related information is processed just when needed and not at each cycle) or using complex resource configurations.

A real world example of the above comes with the document describing how to integrate Schlumberger Simulators in a PBS Professional Computing Environment (Altair-PBS-Eclipse-Integraton-2012.pdf), which is available from (Support -> Resource Library -> Technical Papers).





This year Altair held it’s first annual PBS Works User Group October 2 & 3, 2013, in the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, a great background for the event. During breaks from discussing the next generation of HPC computing attendees were able to wander around and see some of the cool exhibits showing technical milestones of the past. One of the things I was surprised by was the effect of having all the school aged children there in the museum while the conference was going on. Rather than being a distraction, their curiosity and energy helped get me get excited about what the future would bring.

The presenters at conference were drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, from academic to industry to government. Martin Nichols came all the way from the University of Queensland in Australia to talk about how he’s using PBS Professional hooks to make sure their various departments and groups have access to the compute resources they need. Simon Burbidge from the Imperial College of London made the long trip to talk about his vision of where HPC was going. Jim Glidewell from Boeing Corp from up the coast in Seattle, Washington, was there to talk about his 12 years of experience using PBS Pro on their ever changing HPC infrastructure. Jun Iyama came from Nissan Motor Co in Japan to tell us about how PBS Pro was being used in their engineering environment to optimize running their incredibly complex crash simulations. Dale Talcott and Greg Matthews came down the street from NASA-Ames to talk about how their rocket scientists are using PBS Professional on one of the largest computer systems in the world. And many more incredibly talented individuals from all over the world, it really was a global event. Presentations from the conference can be found at

In addition to the great presentations there were also several opportunities for attendees to participate in highly interactive sessions with Altair engineers and developers. A core group of PBS Professional developers held a Q&A discussion with the entire audience. Separate optional tracks were offered for advanced PBS Pro hook writers as well as a workshop for creating application definitions (AppDefs) for Compute Manager, Altair’s cool new graphical front end to PBS Pro. It was a great opportunity for those using our technology to learn something new and for Altair to hear what improvements could make it easier to implement.

Finally I’d like to say thank you to Rich Bruekner of insideHPC for being there live and allowing us the share the proceedings real time. He’s got some great additional interviews and articles on their site: PBS on inside HPC

Next years PBSWorks UG will be held in conjunction with the Altair ATC in Irvine, CA, on Oct 1-3 2013, hope to see you there!

Sam Goosen




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Category: Automotive

The Challenge of Crashworthiness for Composite Cars

, Vice President, Marketing at solidThinking

This post was taken from Altair Enlighten and contributed by my colleague, Giuseppe Resta, Manager, Global Automotive at Altair Engineering.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that passenger safety and vehicle crashworthiness were the battleground where automakers differentiated their products. Now, as many OEMs have created product development systems that rely on a CAE-driven strategy to deliver excellent passive safety performance, it appears to have taken a backseat to miles-per-gallon. Almost every car commercial touts greater fuel efficiency and seeks to validate the manufacturer’s environmental credentials.

Both safety and gas mileage advances have been pushed by regulation and pulled by consumer demand. Now that the United States has set the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard for 2025 and lower CO2 emissions have been mandated in Europe, we are entering a new era of increased challenge that could lead to significant change in the way cars are designed and constructed. OEMs and suppliers are reviewing every component and considering the technologies available to meet these new demanding standards, including investment in engineered plastic and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) that offer high stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios.

Read More




Category: HPC

Welcome to the New Altair HPC Blog

, CTO, PBS Works division at Altair

It gives me great pleasure to re-start up the Altair HPC blog.  Didn’t know we had a blog dedicated to the HPC space before?  I don’t blame you — we’ve mostly posted product announcements — not really very blog-y.  The PBS Works product management team hopes to change that, and provide a place where you can get a more personal view from us.  Hear our view of HPC in general, see our vision of HPC products and solutions, learn  our favorite tips and tricks for using our software, but most importantly, simply get to know us a little better.


Before getting started, let me give you a little insight into the PBS Works product management team:

Bill Nitzberg (me) — easily recognizable at conferences by his suspenders and aloha shirt…

Dan Stephenson — jumped out of airplanes in his previous line of work…

Sam Goosen — has been known to go skiing from time to time…

Dario Dorella — recently discovered that jetlag and marathons don’t mix…


Please let us know what you think of the new format… although you might wait for a few more posts :-) .



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