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31.2.3 Starting Parallel FLUENT with the Fluent Launcher

The Fluent Launcher (Figure  31.2.2), is a stand-alone Windows application that allows you to launch FLUENT jobs from a computer with a Windows operating system to a cluster of computers. Settings made in the Fluent Launcher panel (Figure  31.2.2) are used to create a FLUENT parallel command. This command will then be distributed to your network where typically another application may manage the session(s).

You can create a shortcut on your desktop pointing to the Fluent Launcher executable at

    FLUENT_INC\fluent6.x\launcher\launcher.exe

where FLUENT_INC is the root path to where FLUENT is installed, (i.e., usually the FLUENT_INC environment variable) and x indicates the release version of FLUENT).

Figure 31.2.2: The Fluent Launcher Panel
figure

The Fluent Launcher allows you to perform the following:

When you are ready to launch your serial or parallel application, you can check the validity of the settings using the Check button (messages are displayed in the Log Information window). When you are satisfied with the settings, click the Launch button to start the parallel processes.

To return to your default settings for the Fluent Launcher, based on your current FLUENT installation, click the Default button. The fields in the Fluent Launcher panel will return to their original settings.

When you are finished using the Fluent Launcher, click the Close button. Any settings that you have made in the panel are preserved when you re-open the Fluent Launcher.



Setting the Path to FLUENT


You need to specify the location of where FLUENT is installed on your system using the Fluent.Inc Path field, or click ... to browse through your directory structure to locate the installation folder (trying to use the UNC path if applicable). Once set, various fields in the Fluent Launcher (e.g., Release, MPI Types, etc.) are automatically populated with the available options, depending on the FLUENT installations that are available.



Setting Executable Options with the Fluent Launcher


Under Executable Options, you can indicate the release number, as well as the version of the FLUENT executable that you want to run.

Specifying a FLUENT Release

Depending on what FLUENT releases are available in the Fluent.Inc Path, you can specify the number associated with a given release in the Release list. The list is populated with the FLUENT release numbers that are available in the Fluent Inc. Path field.

Specifying the Version of FLUENT

You can specify the dimensionality and the precision of the FLUENT product using the Version list. There are four possible choices: 2d, 2ddp, 3d, or 3ddp. The 2d and 3d options provide single-precision results for two-dimensional or three-dimensional problems, respectively. The 2ddp and 3ddp options provide double-precision results for two-dimensional or three-dimensional problems, respectively.



Setting Parallel Options with the Fluent Launcher


Under Parallel Options, you can indicate the number of FLUENT processes, the specific computer architecture you want to run the processes on, the type of MPI, as well as a listing of computer nodes that you want to use in the calculations.

Specifying the Number of FLUENT Processes

You can specify the number of FLUENT processes in the Number of Processes field. You can use the drop-down list to select from pre-set values of serial, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64, or you can manually enter the number into the field yourself (e.g., 3, 10, etc.). The range of parallel processes ranges from 1 to 1024. If Number of Processes is equal to 1, you might want to consider running the FLUENT job using the serial setting.

Specifying the Computer Architecture

You can specify the computer architecture using the Architecture drop-down list. Depending on the selected release, the available options are ntx86 and win64.

Specifying the MPI Type

You can specify the MPI to use for the parallel computations using the MPI Types field. The list of MPI types varies depending on the selected release and the selected architecture. There are several options, based on the operating system of the parallel cluster. For more information about the available MPI types, see Tables  31.2.1- 31.2.2.

Specifying the List of Machines to Run FLUENT

Specify the hosts file using the Machine List or File field. You can use the ... button to browse for a hosts file, or you can enter the machine names directly into the text field. Machine names can be separated either by a comma or a space.



Setting Additional Options with the Fluent Launcher


Under Additional Options, you can specify a working folder and/or a journal file. In addition, you can specify whether to use the Microsoft Scheduler or whether to use benchmarking options.

Specifying the Working Folder

You can specify the path of your current working directory using the Working Folder field or click ... to browse through your directory structure. Note that a UNC path cannot be set as a working folder.

Specifying a Journal File

You can specify the path and name of a journal file using the Journal File field or click ... to browse through your directory structure to locate the file. Using the journal file, you can automatically load the case, compile any user-defined functions, iterate until the solution converges, and write results to a output file.

Specifying Whether or Not to Use the Microsoft Job Scheduler ( win64 MS MPI Only)

For the Windows 64-bit MS MPI only, you can specify that you want to use the Microsoft Job Scheduler (see Section  31.2.4) by selecting the Use Microsoft Scheduler check box. Once selected, you can then enter a machine name in the with Head Node text field. If you are running FLUENT on the head node, then you can keep the field empty. This option translates into the proper parallel command line syntax for using the Microsoft Job Scheduler.

Specifying Whether or Not to Use the Fluent Launcher for Benchmarking

If you are creating benchmark cases using parallel FLUENT, you can enable the Benchmark check box. This option involves having several benchmarking-related files available on your machine. If you are missing any of the files, the Fluent Launcher informs you of which files you need and how to locate them.



Fluent Launcher Example


The Fluent Launcher takes the options that you have specified and uses those settings to create a FLUENT parallel command. This command (displayed in the Log Information window) will then be distributed to your network where typically another application may manage the session(s).

For example, if, in the Fluent Launcher panel, you specified your Fluent.Inc Path to be \\my_computer\Fluent.Inc and under Executable Options, you selected 6.3.20 for the Release, and 3d for the Version. Then, under Parallel Options, you selected 2 for the number of Processes, win64 for the Architecture, selected mpich2 in the MPI Types field, then entered the location of a Z:\fluent.host file in the Machine List or File field. If you click the Check button, the command is displayed in the Log Information window. When you click the Launch button, the Fluent Launcher would then generate the following parallel command:

\\my_computer\Fluent.Inc\ntbin\win64\fluent.exe 3d -r6.3.20 -t2 -mpi=mpich2
-cnf=Z:\fluent.hosts -awin64


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