3. User Guide

The quoFEM app is a scientific workflow application that creates workflows and runs them in the background. These workflows can involve multiple different workflow applications (see more information the backend and workflows under Software Architecture). Once the quoFEM app is started, the user is presented with the user interface (UI) shown in Fig. 3.1. This interface allows the user to select the applications to run in a workflow, input the controlling parameters for each of these applications, start the workflow either locally or remotely, and finally view the results of the simulation.


Fig. 3.1 The quoFEM app user interface.

The main window of the UI is made up from the following areas:

  1. Input Panel Selection Ribbon

    The ribbon on the left side provides buttons that represent each step of the simulation workflow (e.g., EVT: Event Description, SIM: Structural Model, RES: Results). Clicking on one of these buttons shows the corresponding workflow applications in the central input panel.
  2. Input Panel

    The input panel is the large central area of the user-interface where the user provides input for the workflow applications. You can select a workflow application using the drop-down menu at the top of each input panel. Each panel collects input parameters and paths to files with input data for the selected workflow application. The RES (results) panel is different; it shows the results after a simulation is completed.
  3. Login Button

    The Login button is at the top right of the user interface. You can only launch jobs on DesignSafe after logging in to DesignSafe using your DesignSafe login and password. Pressing the login button will open up the login window to enter this information. You can register for an account on the DesignSafe-CI website 1.
  4. Push Buttons

    This is the area near the bottom of the UI with the following four buttons:
    • RUN: Run the simulation locally on your computer.

    • RUN at DesignSafe: Process the input information and send the data to DesignSafe. The simulation will be run there on a supercomputer and the results will be stored in your DesignSafe jobs folder.

    • GET from DesignSafe: Obtain the list of jobs you ran on DesignSafe. You can select a job to download its results to your computer.

    • Exit: Close the application.

  5. Message Area

    The message area is located in the bottom of the UI and displays the status and error messages for a running background application. The message area is a dockable dialog which can be resized, moved, and closed as needed. The dialog visibility can be toggled by clicking on the menu item View -> Program Output. If moved from its default location, the status dialog can be restored to the bottom of the UI by dragging the dialog back to the bottom of the UI and hovering over the area.

The following sections of the user guide describe in detail each of the steps presented in the input panel selection ribbon and the corresponding workflow applications available in the tool:

Running Jobs Remotely

Clicking on the RUN at DesignSafe button will show the remote job submission dialog shown below (Fig. 3.7)


Fig. 3.7 Remote job submission dialog.

Descriptions and guidelines for each input are given below:

  • Job Name: An easy to remember and meaningful name to differentiate this job from others.

  • Number of Nodes: Number of compute nodes requested. Each node includes several cores and each core can run one thread of a parallel calculation.


The number of nodes requested affects the time it takes for the job to start. Jobs are queued by a so-called scheduler on the supercomputer that optimizes its performance. Jobs that use 1-2 nodes typically start almost immediately, while a larger number of nodes (e.g., more than 10) may stay in the queue for several hours.

  • Number of processes per Node: Number of processors that will be utilized on each node. It is advantageous to use all available processors of a node when the memory demand of a job is small. When a job is memory intensive, e.g., large finite element models, utilizing all available processors may overwhelm the memory cache of a core and the computation will slow down. Currently, the maximum number of processors is 48 and the minimum is 1.

  • Max Run Time: The maximum time a job will run on the DesignSafe computer, in the format of Hours:Min:Sec. The job will be terminated and the intermediate results will be lost if the run time exceeds this threshold. The maximum runtime allowed for a job on DesignSafe is 48 hours.


You can check the status of a remote run by clicking on the GET from DesignSafe button. If the analysis status shows FAILED, log into your DesignSafe account to view the detailed output of the run. First, log in with your credentials on the DesignSafe webpage. Next, use the menu to navigate to Workspace -> Tools & Applications -> Job Status and then select a job and click on More info to view the status of that job.


For more help on external services provided by DesignSafe-CI, such as creating an account, we encourage users to explore their documentation or consider submitting a ticket.