FEA Specialists-take note! How to get the most out of your Abaqus tokens

Dassault is one of the world’s top enterprise software vendors by revenue, and the largest EDT (engineering design tool) supplier. Abaqus is one of their Finite Element Analysis (FEA) products which is widely used for simulations for computer-aided engineering, or CAE. Abaqus was acquired in 2005 by Dassault, and there are 2 license manager options: Dassault’s own product DSLS or Flexera’s Flexnet which is designed to handle token licenses. The token system works quite well for Abaqus, because of the nature of FEA software, which is often run on multiple processors with no or only occasional intervention by the user who scheduled the job. The number of tokens required for a job is dependent on:-

  • the number of simultaneous users
  • the number of parallel processors (CPUs or GPU) that are needed
  • at least 1 token for the CAE pre-processor, depending on number of users

So, while using multiple parallel processors will cut down the time to run the simulation to a fraction of the time it would run with a single CPU, there is an extra cost incurred for each processor used. Below is an illustration of token costing for various Abaqus products:-

Keeping track of token usage can be quite a complex task, and is even more complex when you are running FEA software on multiple CPUs. It can also be a challenge weighing up time taken to process the simulation against the cost of tokens. This is why GPUs have become so popular for intensive computations like FEA.  Tests by Abaqus working in tandem with Nvidia have found that Abaqus Standard runs 3.7 times faster when using a GPU.

Source: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/data-center/gpu-accelerated-applications/abaqus/

Not only is processing time faster, it is cheaper. The token calculation when using one GPU in addition to the CPUs is the same as for the CPUs without a GPU. In other words, looking at the graph above, both methods will use 12 tokens, but results are produced in 1/4 of the time. The amount of acceleration improves for very complex calculations and very high numbers of degrees of freedom (DOF), and may not make a marked difference for smaller computations with a smaller number of DOFs.

This token pricing model applies irrespective of the number of CPUs utilized, as the graph below, illustrates.

Source: NVIDIA GPUs Accelerate Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA’s Abaqus/Standard FEA Solver  

https://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-abaqus-accelerations.html

The improvement in processing time is shown below as this graph from a white paper by Nvidia illustrates, based on a study at Rolls Royce.

Source: White Paper – Accelerating Abaqus Computations Using NVIDIA GPUs

Possibly an even more important benefit is the energy savings from using the energy-efficient GPUs. The graph below, taken from the same white paper, shows energy savings when a GPU is added to the computation.

Source: White Paper – Accelerating Abaqus Computations Using NVIDIA GPUs

It clearly makes good sense to start incorporating GPUs into any complex calculations, such as FEA, where the software products cater for it.

There is further good news for Simulia customers, because Dassault has come up with a new token licensing scheme for three additional products, namely Isight, Tosca and FE Safe, which have been bundled together in an extended licensing scheme.

Good News for OpenLM Customers

Customers who use Abaqus have been able to apply OpenLM in managing their Abaqus licenses and tokens for some time. We are pleased to announce that we have recently enhanced our product in answer to a request from a leading research company who use OpenLM to manage their licenses. They asked us to provide license management for the Nvidia GPUs; Nvidia provides a license manager, but for ease of use, the company wanted just one tool to manage the Nvidia licenses as well as their computational software. It must be noted that the Nvidia license manager does not report on usage, an essential requirement for control and optimization. We have been able to develop this solution and it is now available for any of our customers who apply GPUs in their IT environment. We recognise that GPUs are used for a variety of applications, from crypto mining to VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) installations. Even more conventional engineering tools, such as AutoCAD, are being boosted by the use of GPUs. Now their licenses can be managed through OpenLM as well.

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