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the bene ts of the specialists' work without needing to have     Library) and receive an automated report once the test is
coding experience speci c to COMSOL. In addition to being        complete” (see Figure 2).
able to easily build a custom interface, simulation specialists
can extend their models with methods written in Java® code       ð AUTOMATED REPORTS UNLOCK
that allow them to implement custom commands and link to         PRODUCTIVITY
legacy programs. This is exactly what the ORNL team needed.
                                                                 Customers will be able to run models in the Application
   The veri cation procedures require the researchers to         Library according to their COMSOL Multiphysics license, with
demonstrate that the software has installed correctly on         the exibility to select which of the models they want to
speci c computers and produces the results intended by the       include in their own installation tests. Once the simulations
COMSOL Multiphysics developers. Mike was looking for a           have been run, the test app will tell the customers which
solution that would allow the team to test whether they          of the models passed and which have failed, including the
would get the same simulation results on different computers     values where a failure occurred, and present the user with an
using different operating systems and mathematical libraries.    automated report. The pass/fail criteria is set by default but
“Because of the differences in machine architecture and          may be changed to meet the customer’s needs. Customers can
libraries, along with the limitations of machine precision, we   also extend the tests with their own models and by entering
                                                                 their own reference values for the numerical solution.
    “The automated report has
                                                                    “Customers can use the app to compare the results from
      provided us with newfound                                  the previous installation to clearly understand the impact
      time, as well as increased                                 of the possible product updates in a new installation,” says
      accuracy and reliability.”                                 Ed. “For example, if COMSOL changes a mesh algorithm or a
                                                                 turbulence model, you will be able to check how the results
          — JIM FREELS, SENIOR RESEARCH STAFF                    from your own models and from COMSOL’s Application
            MEMBER, ORNL                                         Library are in uenced by the updates.”

don’t expect the included and local results to be identical         Upon testing a preliminary version of the test app, Mike
to the nal decimal point, but we expect them to be close         exclaimed, “We were able to complete the entire veri cation
enough,” Mike explains. The reason behind any discrepancies      process in about 24 hours!”
may be due to, for example, how solvers and meshing
algorithms are locally created and compiled, which could            Jim added that “The automated report has provided
affect the nal results.                                          us with newfound time, as well as increased accuracy and
                                                                 reliability. That allows us to direct our efforts on the work
   Prior to the release of the COMSOL-developed Application      needed to convert the HFIR fuel from a high-performance
Builder “Model Tester”, Mike had developed a custom
MATLAB® software program that automated the veri cation          HEU to an LEU fuel.” v
process in a similar manner by selecting a subset of models
from the Application Library that came with the COMSOL®          Top: The High Flux Isotope Reactor Site at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
software to run locally and extract and compare the results.     Bottom: The core COMSOL group within the Research Reactors Division of
This development was documented in a recent paper                ORNL, from left to right: Christopher J. Hurt, Franklin G. Curtis, Prashant
published through the COMSOL Conference 2015 Boston. The         K. Jain, Michael W. Crowell, James D. Freels, and Emilian L. Popov.
MATLAB® software program that Mike developed compares
the results in the models and documentation provided by
COMSOL against the locally generated results, and then
reports the variance and highlights any out-of-bounds cases.
Using Mike’s new approach, ORNL was able to reduce the time
needed for veri cation from months to days.

   Jim was eager to share Mike’s accomplishments with
COMSOL, as well as with other facilities working on DOE
projects. This shared knowledge led to a conversation with
Ed Fontes, CTO of COMSOL, about developing an application
to be included in the Application Library for all customers to
easily verify a COMSOL Multiphysics installation. Ed explained
that these kinds of veri cation tests are done during the
development of COMSOL Multiphysics with several hundred
models tested every night. He happily agreed to kick off the
project and explained that “the app will allow customers to
run a suite of models and compare several physics results,
such as temperature and electric potential, against the values
provided in the product documentation (and Application

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