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ANSYS is a software suite for engineering simulation and 3-D design. It includes packages such as ANSYS Fluent and ANSYS CFX.


Compute Canada is a hosting provider for ANSYS . This means that we have ANSYS software installed on our clusters, but we do not provide a generic license accessible to everyone. However, many institutions, faculties, and departments already have licenses that can be used on our cluster. Once the legal aspects are worked out for licensing, there will be remaining technical aspects. The license server on your end will need to be reachable by our compute nodes. This will require our technical team to get in touch with the technical people managing your license software. In some cases, this has already been done. You should then be able to load the ANSYS modules, and it should find its license automatically. If this is not the case, please contact our Technical support, so that we can arrange this for you.

Available modules are: fluent/16.1, ansys/16.2.3, ansys/17.2, ansys/18.1, ansys/18.2, ansys/19.1, ansys/19.2, ansys/2019R2, ansys/2019R3.


The full ANSYS documentation (for the latest version) can be accessed by following these steps:

  1. connect to with tigervnc as described in VDI Nodes
  2. open a terminal window and start workbench:
    • module load CcEnv StdEnv/2016.4 ansys
    • runwb2
  3. in the upper pulldown menu click the sequence:
    • Help -> ANSYS Workbench Help
  4. once the ANSYS Help page appears click:
    • Home

Configuring your own license file[edit]

Our module for ANSYS is designed to look for license information in a few places. One of those places is your home folder. If you have your own license server, you can write the information to access it in the following format:

File : ansys.lic

setenv("ANSYSLMD_LICENSE_FILE", "<port>@<hostname>")
setenv("ANSYSLI_SERVERS", "<port>@<hostname>")

put this file in the folder $HOME/.licenses/. Before an ANSYS license server can be reached from any Compute Canada system firewall configuration changes will likely need to be made, please contact our Technical support to arrange this. Several ANSYS license servers have already been configured to use such as the free SHARCNET cfd license or the non-free CMC license - these maybe specified using the settings shown in the following table:

CMC beluga 6624@ 2325@
CMC cedar 6624@ 2325@
CMC graham 6624@ 2325@
SHARCNET beluga/cedar/graham

In some situations you may also need to obtain an XML file from the institution which operates the license server in order to ensure that ANSYS on the Compute Canada clusters gives priority to the right kind of license. For example to choose a research license instead of a teaching license, a file with name like license.preferences.xml would be placed into directory $HOME/.ansys/v195/licensing/ assuming you are using the ansys/2019R3 module.

Cluster Batch Job Submission[edit]

The ANSYS software suite comes with multiple implementations of MPI to support parallel computation. Unfortunately, none of them supports our Slurm scheduler. For this reason, we need special instructions for each ANSYS package on how to start a parallel job. In the sections below, we give examples of submission scripts for some of the packages. If one is not covered and you want us to investigate and help you start it, please contact our Technical support.

ANSYS Fluent[edit]

Typically you would use the following procedure for running Fluent on one of the Compute Canada clusters:

  • Prepare your Fluent job using Fluent from the "ANSYS Workbench" on your Desktop machine up to the point where you would run the calculation.
  • Export the "case" file "File > Export > Case..." or find the folder where Fluent saves your project's files. The "case" file will often have a name like FFF-1.cas.gz.
  • If you already have data from a previous calculation, which you want to continue, export a "data" file as well (File > Export > Data...) or find it the same project folder (FFF-1.dat.gz).
  • Transfer the "case" file (and if needed the "data" file) to a directory on the project or scratch filesystem on the cluster. When exporting, you save the file(s) under a more instructive name than FFF-1.* or rename them when uploading them.
  • Now you need to create a "journal" file. It's purpose is to load the case- (and optionally the data-) file, run the solver and finally write the results. See examples below and remember to adjust the filenames and desired number of iterations.
  • Adapt the Fluent jobscript below to your needs.
  • After running the job you can download the "data" file and import it back to Fluent with File > import > Data....
File :

#SBATCH --account=def-group   # specify some account
#SBATCH --time=00-06:00       # Time limit dd-hh:mm
#SBATCH --nodes=2             # Number of compute nodes
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=32    # Number of cores per node
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=1   # Do not change
#SBATCH --mem=0               # All memory on full nodes
module load ansys/2019R3 --format ANSYS-FLUENT > machinefile

fluent 3d -t $NCORE -cnf=machinefile -mpi=intel -affinity=0 -g -i fluent_3.jou
File : fluent_3.jou

; ===========================
; lines beginning with a semicolon are comments

; Read only the case file:
/file/read-case  FFF-1.cas.gz

; Run the solver for this many steps:
/solve/iterate 1000

; Overwrite output files by default
/file/confirm-overwrite n

; Write the output data-file:
/file/write-data  FFF-out.dat.gz

; Write simulation report to file (optional):
/report/summary y "My_Simulation_Report.txt"

; Exit fluent:
File : fluent_3.jou

; ===========================
; lines beginning with a semicolon are comments

; Read both case and files (FFF-1.cas.gz & FFF-1.dat.gz):
/file/read-case-data  FFF-1.cas.gz

; Run the solver for this many steps:
/solve/iterate 1000

; Write both case and files (FFF-out.cas.gz & FFF-out.dat.gz):
/file/write-case-data  FFF-out.cas.gz

; Write simulation report to file (optional):
/report/summary y "My_Simulation_Report.txt"

; Exit fluent:
File : fluent_transient.jou

; ====================================================
; lines beginning with a semicolon are comments

; Read only the input case file:
/file/read-case         "FFF-transient-inp.cas.gz"
; In case of a continuation, you need to read both ".cas" and "*.dat":
; /file/read-case-data  "FFF-transient-inp.cas.gz"

; ##### settings for Transient simulation :  ######
; # Set the magnitude of the (physical) time step (delta-t)
/solve/set/time-step   0.0001

; # Set the number of time steps for a transient simulation:
/solve/set/max-iterations-per-time-step   20

; # Set the number of iterations for which convergence monitors are reported:
/solve/set/reporting-interval   1

; ##### End of settings for Transient simulation. ######

; Initialize using the hybrid initialization method:

; Perform unsteady iterations for a specified number of time steps:
/solve/dual-time-iterate   1000

; write the output (both "FFF-transient-out.cas.gz" and "FFF-transient-out.dat.gz"):
/file/write-case-data    "FFF-transient-out.cas.gz"

; Write simulation report to file (optional):
/report/summary y "Report_Transient_Simulation.txt"

; Exit fluent:

Fluent Journal files can include basically any command from Fluent's Text-User-Interface (TUI); commands can be used to change simulation parameters like temperature, pressure and flow speed. With this you can run a series of simulations under different conditions with a single case file, by only changing the parameters in the Journal file. Refer to the Fluent User's Guide for more information and a list of all commands that can be used.


File :

#SBATCH --account=def-group   # specify some account
#SBATCH --time=00-06:00       # Time limit dd-hh:mm
#SBATCH --nodes=2             # Number of compute nodes
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=32    # Number of cores per node
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=1   # Do not change
#SBATCH --mem=0               # All memory on full nodes
module load ansys/2019R3

nodes=$( --format ANSYS-CFX)
cfx5solve -def YOURFILE.def -start-method "Intel MPI Distributed Parallel" -par-dist $nodes  <other options>

Note that you may get the following errors in your output file : /etc/tmi.conf: No such file or directory. They do not seem to affect the computation.

Site Specific Usage[edit]

Sharcnet License[edit]

The Sharcnet ANSYS cfd license consists of 25 aa_r_cfd seats and 512 aa_r_hpc cores. It can be used by any Compute Canada user on any Compute Canada system for the purpose of publishable academic research. Individual users are limited to running a maximum of 3 simultaneous jobs (3 aa_r_cfd) and consuming upto 128 cores (128 aa_r_hpc) if available. The tokens are served on a first come first serve basis. Due to the limited license size and number of users it is possible a job will fail to start if insufficient license tokens are available at runtime (especially during the day). In such case the job will need to be resubmitted or retarted later when being used interactively. If guaranteed token access is required, open a ticket and request a quote for the quantity needed; prices will be at cost plus applicable taxes.

License Server File[edit]

To use the Sharcnet ansys license configure your ansys.lic file as follows unless you are running on a Sharcnet system such as graham or gra-vdi:

[gra-login1:~/.licenses] cat ansys.lic
setenv("ANSYSLI_SERVERS", "")

Check License Server[edit]

Once your ansys.lic file is configured as shown above, the SHARCNET license server maybe queuried as follows:

module load ansys
  • Check the number of ansys cfd licenses in use by all users (maximum 25 jobs running):
lmutil lmstat -c $ANSYSLMD_LICENSE_FILE -a | grep "Users of aa_r_cfd"
  • Check the number of ansys hpc licenses in use by all users (maximum 512 cores running):
lmutil lmstat -c $ANSYSLMD_LICENSE_FILE -a | grep "Users of aa_r_hpc"
  • Check the number of ansys cfd licenses in use for your username (maximum 3 jobs running):
lmutil lmstat -c -a | grep ", s" | grep -v licenses | grep $USER | wc -l

Remote Visualization[edit]

Start Workbench:

  1. connect to with TigerVNC
  2. module load SnEnv ansys
  3. fluent|cfx|runwb2|icemcfd|apdl
  4. Press y then enter to accept the two conditions.
  5. Press enter to use the sharcnet license.

Note running cfx provides options to start the gui for:

   1) CFX-Launcher  (cfx5 -> cfx5launcher)
   2) CFX-Pre       (cfx5pre)
   3) CFD-Post      (cfdpost -> cfx5post)
   4) CFX-Solver    (cfx5solve)

Additive Manufacturing[edit]

To get started configure your ~/.licenses/ansys.lic file to point to a license server that has a valid ANSYS Mechanical License. This must be done on all systems where you plan to run the software.

Enable Additive[edit]

To enable ANSYS Additive Manufacturing in your project do the following 3 steps:

Start Workbench[edit]

On Gra-vdi:

  • connect to with TigerVNC
  • module load CcEnv StdEnv ansys/2019R3
  • export PATH=/cvmfs/$PATH
  • cd to the directory where your test.wbpj file is located
  • runwb2

On a cluster:

  • connect to a cluster compute node with TigerVNC
  • module load ansys/2019R3
  • export PATH=/cvmfs/$PATH
  • cd to the directory where your test.wbpj file is located
  • runwb2

Install Extension[edit]

  • click Extensions -> Install Extension
  • specify the following /path/to/AdditiveWizard.wbex then click Open: /cvmfs/

Load Extension[edit]

  • click Extensions -> Manage Extensions and tick Additive Wizard then click Close

Run Additive[edit]


ANSYS Additive Manufacturing can be run in Gui Mode on gra-vdi with upto 8cores for 24hours as follows:

  • Start Workbench On Gra-vdi as described above in Enable Additive
  • click File -> Open and select test.wbpj then click Open
  • click View -> reset workspace if you get a grey screen
  • start Mechanical, Clear Generated Data, tick Distributed, specify Cores
  • click File -> Save Project -> Solve

Check utilization:

  • open another terminal and run: top -u $USER
  • kill rogue processes from previous runs if required: pkill -e -u $USER -f "ansys"


To submit an Additive job to a cluster queue, you must first prepare your additive simulation to run on Compute Canada clusters. To do this open then save your simulation (on gra-vdi OR the cluster you are working on in a salloc session) to initialize the projects internal path configuration as described above in the Enable Additive section. Next create a slurm script in the directory where your project file is located (similar to one below) and submit it to the queue by doing: sbatch script.txt Be sure that value of --ntasks in the slurm script matches the Cores value last set in Mechanical in particular if moving the project to a different cluster. To change the Cores value on a cluster without opening your simulation follow the "Open Mechanical on login node" section found near the bottom of this page.

File : script.txt

#SBATCH --account=def-account
#SBATCH --time=00-06:00      # Time (DD-HH:MM)
#SBATCH --ntasks=8           # Number of cores
#SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=2G     # Memory per core
rm -f test_files/.lock
module load ansys/2019R3
export KMP_AFFINITY=balanced
export PATH=/cvmfs/$PATH
runwb2 -B -F test.wbpj -E "Update();Save(Overwrite=True)"

For parametric studies change Update() to UpdateAllDesignPoints() in the last line of your slurm script. For initial performance testing one can avoid the solution from being written by specifying Overwrite=False in the slurm script so further runs to be conducted without needing to reopen the simulation in workbench (and mechanical) to clear the solution and recreate the design points. Another option is to create a replay script once and for all in workbench to perform these tasks then run it on the cluster between runs as follows. The replay file can be used in different directories by changing its internal FilePath setting accordingly.

module load ansys/2019R3
rm -f test_files/.lock
runwb2 -R myreplay.wbjn

Resource utilization:

Once your additive job has been running for a few minutes a snapshot of its resource utilization on the compute node(s) can be obtained with the following the srun command. Sample output corresponding to the above 8core submission script as as follows where it can be noticed that two nodes were selected by the schedular:

[demo@gra-login1:~] srun --jobid=jobnumber top -bn1 -u $USER | grep R | grep -v top
22843 demo   20   0 2272124 256048  72796 R  88.0  0.2  1:06.24  ansys.e
22849 demo   20   0 2272118 256024  72822 R  99.0  0.2  1:06.37  ansys.e
22838 demo   20   0 2272362 255086  76644 R  96.0  0.2  1:06.37  ansys.e
 4310 demo   20   0 2740212 271096 101892 R 101.0  0.2  1:06.26  ansys.e
 4311 demo   20   0 2740416 284552  98084 R  98.0  0.2  1:06.55  ansys.e
 4304 demo   20   0 2729516 268824 100388 R 100.0  0.2  1:06.12  ansys.e
 4305 demo   20   0 2729436 263204 100932 R 100.0  0.2  1:06.88  ansys.e
 4306 demo   20   0 2734720 431532  95180 R 100.0  0.3  1:06.57  ansys.e

Scaling tests:

After a job completes its elapsed time can be found from the "Job Wall-clock time" output from the seff jobid. One can use this value to perform scaling tests. If the Wall-clock time decreases by ~50% when the number of cores are doubled (for example from "#SBATCH --ntasks=8" to "#SBATCH --ntasks=16") further core doubling increasements can be investigated. While jobs may run faster when the number of cores is increased, the wait time will also increase significantly unless the research group has a RAC award.

Open mechanical on login node:

This procedure explains howto make changes to your mechanical environment on a login node (to match the settings in your slurm script) without opening your simulation on a compute node. When moved to a different cluster, a project does not need to be opened then saved again if the path and directory name remain exactly the same.

1) Login to a cluster login node and run:
 [demo@beluga3:~] vncserver
 [demo@beluga3:~] grep port /home/demo/.vnc/
   vncext: Listening for VNC connections on all interface(s), port 5905
2) On your local laptop open a terminal and run:
 [demo@local_laptop:~] ssh -L 5901:gra-login3:5905
3) On your laptop open another terminal and run:
 [demo@local_laptop:~] vncviewer localhost:5901
4) In the vnc terminal run:
 [demo@beluga3:~] module load ansys/2019R3
 [demo@beluga3:~] runwb2
   o start Mechanical by clicking Component Systems -> Mechanical Model -> Model
   o under Solve for My Computer enter Cores: 8
   o under Solve for My Computer tick Distributed 
   o quit Mechanical by clicking File -> Close Mechanical
   o quit Workbench by clicking File -> Exit (do not save the current project)

Message Passing Interface