Software FAQ

The following are Frequently Asked Questions about installing and using Itasca software. If you have a specific technical question, please submit a support request form.

FAQs: 

What computer hardware does Itasca recommend for its software?

About Hardware Recommendations

The speed performance of Itasca software is principally affected by two computer hardware elements: processor(s) and RAM. It is extremely rare, but hard drive space also can be a concern. Graphics cards can negatively effect rendering and cause crashes in the worst cases.

For each Itasca program (FLAC, UDEC, FLAC3D, 3DEC, and PFC), a set of suggested minimum system requirements is provided. These are the lowest hardware specifications that can be used with no expectation of performance issues. As such, they are recommendations, not guarantees.

For today's consumer, the range of computer configurations is effectively infinite. As this is the case, Itasca cannot guarantee the performance of any particular system, and therefore cannot make recommendations about computers or computer components that users should buy. Only direct testing can be used to issue a guarantee of performance, and, regrettably, Itasca cannot perform an infinite number of tests to issue such guarantees.

We recognize that the purchase of Itasca software represents a significant commitment on the part of our users and that users are understandably interested in ensuring they have the optimum computer system for running an Itasca software. Given the caveats above, the information provided below represents our best effort to guide the user who intends to purchase a computer for use with Itasca software.

Which processor should I buy?

Processor speeds, attributes, and architectures vary widely. Generally, the faster the processor, the faster it will calculate with Itasca software. The computer buyer who can ascertain that one processor should work faster for other software products can reasonably expect that this will be true when running an Itasca program. Regarding specific processors, Itasca can offer little insight beyond what is mentioned in the next item.

Processors have a speed rating reported by the manufacturer, but on current computers, these ratings are nearly impossible to compare effectively between manufacturers. In addition, the "real-world" performance of the processor on a computer will be significantly affected by hardware and software configurationsthe same processor may perform quite differently from one computer to the next, based on configuration differences.

While we do not use compiler settings to optimize our software to any specific CPU, we do use Intel processors during development. Algorithmic choices based on performance are made using tests on Intel hardware. We also use the Intel C++ compiler to produce the release-optimized software. There is some evidence to support the notion that the Intel C++ optimizer produces output that does not run as well on AMD processors. However, we do not have specific side-by-side benchmarks of comparable processors to support this conclusively.

Should I get two processors (or four, six, or n)? What multi-processor configuration is optimal?

The current versions of FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC are multi-threaded. Certain features of all the software have not been made multi-threaded yet (e.g., FISH scripting), and if they are used, they will reduce the overall benefit gained from multiple processors. Also, the software will show a different performance benefit when running on multiple cores or processors. FLAC3D generally performs best, as much as five times faster on a six-core CPU. These results will vary depending on the particular model and features being used.

Because of memory issues, we have shown consistent reduced multi-threading efficiency when running on a multi-CPU computer, regardless of the number of cores in each CPU. In this case, it is possible you will see increased overall efficiency from running two models in parallel on that hardware rather than in a series.

How much RAM should I have?

In this case, more is always better. RAM is used by Itasca programs to store the model while the program is running. The larger the model, the more RAM needed. If RAM is unavailable, the program will have to swap information to the hard drive, at which point calculation speed will slow to a crawl. The amount of RAM you actually need is predicated completely on the size of the models you expect to create. Only you can know that, and therefore, this is a question to which only you know the answer. For certain types of calculation (thermal or fluid flow calculations in FLAC3D, for instance), bus speed can be a very important factor. Maximizing memory bus speed and cache size can avoid "bottlenecks" (pinched down memory access to the processor) that can slow calculation speed when handling large models.

Should I get a 32- or 64-bit processor and a 32- or 64-bit operating system?

If you intend to run a 64-bit program (currently FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC3D offer 64-bit versions), you need both a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of the software. However, you should run a program matched to the system type (32-bit program on a 32-bit computer; 64-bit program on a 64-bit computer) whenever possible.

Be aware that 64-bit versions ARE NOT faster than 32-bit versions. The reason to use a 64-bit version is only if you intend to create a model that exceeds the memory addressing limit (2GB) inherent in 32-bit programs.

What kind of graphics card should I have?

One that implements OpenGL 1.5 or higher. This is necessary for FLAC3D, 3DEC, PFC2D, and PFC3D. It is not necessary for FLAC or UDEC. However, this specification is on the low side; users of contemporary computers and operating systems with graphics cards that do not meet this level are almost certain to encounter problems with many of their programs, not just Itasca's . Also, maximizing the memory on the graphics card will positively affect software performance, though it is not critical.

Which operating system should I use?

At present, the current versions of Itasca programs are supported on the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. Be aware that any Windows system not mentioned is not explicitly supported and users are advised to proceed at their own risk. Itasca software is not supported on Macintosh or Linux computers. Itasca cannot recommend a particular operating system from among those supported, as their performance is absolutely contingent on the hardware environment in which they operate.

What computer system does Itasca IT recommend?

Itasca Consulting Group engineers run their models on "crunchers," which are powerful PC computers. Our IT team currently (summer 2015) defines the following system configuration as a cruncher.

  • I7 5820K Haswell, 6-core CPU @ 3.3 GHZ
  • Noctua NH-D15 SSO2 D-Type Premium CPU Cooler
  • 64 GB of DDR4 2800
  • ASUS X99-A/USB 3.1 LGA 2011-v3 Main board
  • SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E1T0B/AM 2.5" 1TB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive <SSD>
  • WD BLACK SERIES WD4003FZEX 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
  • EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 220-G2-0750-XR 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit-OEM
  • EVGA 02G-P4-3757-KR G-SYNC Support GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 FTW w/ ACX Cooling Video Card.
  • Cool master HAF 912, High flow Case

How many instances of Itasca software can I run on the same computer?

Network License

A Network version allows one instance of the software, per seat, to cycle on any computer connected to the network.

Standard Single License

As of June 1, 2008, a licensing policy emendation is being implemented in all subsequent releases of Itasca software and is applicable to all users (both new users and those who are upgrading to the new version). The policy, as described in the License Terms, is: "A standard single license allows up to two instances of the software to cycle on a single computer" and was created for the following reasons.

Under the previous terms of the licensing policy, we did not restrict the number of software operating on a single computer under a standard license. If multiple instances of the software were being run, then they would execute proportionally slower. As multi-core and multi-processor computers became popular, it became a concern that owning such a computer effectively granted multiple licenses, because multiple instances could be run with no loss of speed. This was counter to the intent of our licensing.

At the time that we decided to change our licensing policy, dual-core computers were already in common use. Therefore, we decided to allow two simultaneous instances per license instead of restricting it to one. We also changed the security implementation so that a license is claimed only while cycling, allowing multiple instances to continue to be used for problem setup and post-processing analysis.

How can I resolve USB hardlock key related errors?

There are a range of problems that may arise related to the user's key (also sometimes referred to as the USB key, hardware lock, hardlock, or dongle) that secures Itasca software. The following guide provides a general set of steps, from least to most severe, for attempting to resolve key-related errors. Expand each topic for more detailed information describing the step. For more information about troubleshooting your Itasca software USB key, please download the SafeNet Sentinel End User Guide and visit their website.

Standard License

1) Cycle the key through the other USB ports.

Often, a key problem can come from a conflict or corruption in the settings that match up the key, the key driver, and the specific USB port in use (all three components are in play to make any USB device work). This situation most commonly occurs when the key provided for use with the Itasca software gets plugged in before the software is installed, causing Windows to automatically assign an incorrect driver to that port/key pair.

To perform this step, remove the key and put it into a different USB port. If the step works, popup notifications like the ones below will appear in the lower right corner of the screen (the exact pop-ups and text will vary depending on the Windows operating system in use).

followed by

If this occurs, try the software again. At this juncture, it should work. Also, the key should be able to be put back in the original USB port and work correctly. If this doesn't happen on the first new USB port you try, continue working through all the available USB ports on a machine before moving on to the next step.

2) Run SuperPro Medic.

The diagnostic utility SuperPro Medic is provided with the software installation, and can be run from the Start Menu (Start All ProgramsItasca Utility SuperPro Medic). When the program starts, click "Find SuperPro" button. The dialog displayed below indicates that one "Hard limit of first key found" and that its status is "Error 0: Success", which indicates that the SuperPro key was found and appears to be working.

The image above shows the expected result when the key is successfully installed and operational. A valid driver number is reported (that is, not "unknown driver" or "driver version 0.0.0", either of which indicates a problem), and there is a "Success" message in the Description box. If information like this does not appear when SuperPro Medic is run, or if this is the result you receive but your software still reports key errors on startup, proceed to the next step. In the event all the steps provided on this page do not get your software running correctly with the key, it will be of great help to obtain and send a screen capture of the result from SuperPro Medic when contacting Itasca for assistance.

3) Run the Update utility.

Download the latest LicenseKeyUpdater executable from our website (provide link). Make certain the USB key in question is directly attached to your computer and is the only key attached. Email us screenshots of each tab representing a license on the key.

4) Download and install the latest drivers for the key from the SafeNet website.

SafeNet is the company that manufactures the USB keys, and it is also the developer of the driver for the key. Their website provides the latest drivers for the Sentinel USB key. We recommend users click "Click Here" for the latest Sentinel Driver link that appears directly below the "Sentinel Drivers" page title; however, using the "Sentinel Protection Installer" link that appears on the table a bit lower on the page will also supply the needed driver installation file.

This step is quite safe; the SafeNet installation will not overwrite a newer driver with an older one. Updating to a newer driver through a clean installation can clear up the problems stemming from cases of conflict, corruption, or other issues related to the presence of earlier Sentinel USB key drivers.

5) Download and run the the SSDCleanUp utility from SafeNet and retry installation.

The SSD Cleanup Utility is provided on the same page of the SafeNet website as the latest driver download. Note the user must select either the 32- or 64-bit version of this utility, depending on the computer in use. This utility removes all traces of the current and any past Sentinel key driver installations. To use, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Uninstall the Itasca software.
  2. Remove the USB key from the computer.
  3. Run SSD Cleanup.
  4. Reboot the computer.
  5. Run the downloaded driver installation from Step 3 above.
  6. Re-install the Itasca software.
  7. Plug in the USB key.
  8. Run the software.

During this sequence, be sure to follow any instructions to reboot the computer as they appear.

If this sequence does not resolve the problem, please contact Itasca. It will be helpful if a screenshot of the result of performing Step 2 above and a text file from Step 3 is provided. Be sure to provide the name and version of the Itasca software you are running, the operating system you are using, and the exact text of the error(s) or warning(s) (or screen captures of it/them) that occurs on Itasca software startup.

Network License

  1. Make certain that communication is possible using port 6002 between the client computer and the server. A firewall or other network security system blocking traffic on port 6002 is the most common cause of trouble connecting to a network server. 
  2. Run the LicenseKeyUpdater or SuperPro Medic (discussed above) on the server and make certain it can see the network key.
  3. Check to make certain that the network portion of the security drivers have been installed on the network computer.
  4. From the client machine, attempt to connect to the server on a web browser, using http://serverurl:6002, where “serverurl” is the IP address, network name,  or URL of the key server. You should get a Java applet that serves as a network server monitor. If you cannot connect, then either port 6002 has been blocked or the network driver has not been properly installed. If it doesn’t list a key, then the server computer is not seeing the key locally. If someone else has checked out the license, the network monitor should notify you of that and give you the IP address of the person who has checked the license out.

What computer operating systems (OS) can Itasca software run on?

Current versions of Itasca software are supported on the following Windows operating systems.

  • Windows 7, 32- and 64-bit
  • Windows 8, 32- and 64-bit
  • Windows 10, 32- and 64-bit

Any other operating system not specifically listed above is NOT supported by Itasca for use with Itasca software. Itasca software may run on these platforms, but as they are not supported, Itasca provides no assurance of compatibility with them and will not provide support for them.

Itasca's 32-bit software are operable on 64-bit computer systems; however, they are not 64-bit programs and do not have 64-bit addresses. Itasca recommends that, whenever possible, users run versions of Itasca software matched to the 32-bit or 64-bit environment of their computer.

In general, when new Windows operating systems are released, it becomes possible, even likely, that there will be errors if users try to use their old installation files for an Itasca program on the new operating system. In this case, it is strongly recommended that the user obtain the latest installation USB or DVD available from Itasca for their software.

If you are experiencing problems related to your operating system that are not resolved by the information available here, feel free to contact Itasca for assistance with your issue.

Windows 10 Support Statement

Itasca software is Windows 10 compatible. Testing confirms that the current versions of Itasca software at the time of the Windows 10 release (FLAC 7.0. FLAC3D 5.0, UDEC 6.0, 3DEC 5.0, PFC2D 5.0, PFC3D 5.0) are fully operable on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10 systems. Until Windows 10 is no longer supported by Itasca, these versions and higher of each Itasca software may be expected to be supported on Windows 10. Itasca is committed to supporting our software on the latest commonly available Windows operating systems. If you feel there is an error operating your software that is related to the Windows 10 operating system, please let us know. Please be aware that previous versions of the Itasca software listed above are not supported for use with Windows 10, though users are not prohibited in any way from using them if they find them operable on that operating system.

Non-Supported Operating Systems

Itasca's end-user license agreement does not prohibit use of Itasca software on non-Windows platforms (Mac, Linux). However, as stated above, Itasca provides no support for these systems, and it is completely up to the user to do what is needed to install and run Itasca software on these systems, if possible at all.

Can Itasca software be run on Windows Server 2012 (or other non-supported Windows Version X)?

Maybe. Our experience is that the software itself will work without any difficulties on any Windows operating system, and that the principal problem to be anticipated when going to non-supported Windows operating systems is key-related errors. If one of these occurs, a user can contact SafeNet technical support for help. If there is no key error and the program can be started and cycled, then we expect that it will, in all other respects, be compatible with the operating system. However, we cannot confirm this result as we ourselves have not tested these systems as part of our quality assurance measures, since they are not officially supported.

How do I locate my license serial number?

Your software serial number can be found in the letter included with your software shipment. It is also included on the tag attached to your blue (standard) or red (network) USB hardlock key.

You can also find your serial number using your software, provided your USB hardlock key is installed on your computer or network as follows.

For UDEC

For FLAC

For 3DEC, FLAC3D, or PFC

For FLAC/Slope


For UDEC

Click the Console tab beneath the File menu item.

Option 1: You will see the serial number displayed on the third line in the Console.

Option 2: At any time you can type "Print Security" in the command line at the bottom of the Console and hit the "Enter" key.

For FLAC

Click the Console tab beneath the File menu item.

Option 1: You will see the serial number displayed on the second line in the Console.

Option 2: You can also see the serial number displayed in the black Command Prompt display.

For 3DEC, FLAC3D or PFC

Click the Command line beneath the Console pane. Type "LIST Security" and hit the "Enter" key.

For FLAC/Slope

You can find your serial number displayed in the black Command Prompt display.

How is Itasca software distributed?

With each new software release or update, a new set of installation and ancillary files are made available so that users have the most advanced and functional version of our software.

USB Memory Stick

By default, Itasca now distributes all installation, support, and supplemental files required to install, run, and use its software via a USB memory stick. Because its contents change with each software release or update, the USB stick is serialized to provide tracking information and to assist in customer support. The serial number identifies the release version of the Itasca USB.

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Is it still possible to install Itasca software using a DVD?

Yes, some companies and government agencies will not permit their personnel to use USB memory sticks at work for security reasons.

As such, Itasca is happy to continue to support DVDs for installing its software upon request. Because its contents change with each software release or update, the DVD is serialized to provide tracking information and to assist in customer support. The serial number identifies the release version of the Itasca DVD.

    

Website

Itasca Consulting Group is the principle office that develops Itasca's geomechanical software. You may download the following from ICG's website.

  • The most recent release of each software (FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC).
  • The demonstration version of the software (fully functional, but with model size restrictions unless a valid USB hardlock key is present).
  • Update files to upgrade your version of the software to the most recent release version.
  • Previous releases of the software are now being archived on our website. We will be gradually extending these files to older and older versions.

How can I locate my Computer Adapter or MAC address?

The adapter address (also called MAC address, hardware address, network address, or physical address) of your network card uniquely identifies your computer on the network.

Please follow the instructions below to easily find your computer’s adapter address.

  • Click on the Windows Start button.
  • Type "cmd" into the Search programs and files dialog (highlighted in yellow below). Press "Enteron your keyboard.

  • A black window will pop up. This is the Windows Command Terminal.
  • Click on this window, type "ipconfig/all", and press "Enter" on your keyboard.
  • Record your adapter address information exactly as it appears (shown below in yellow).
  • Close the Command Terminal window.
  • Contact software@itascacg.com if you have any questions.

How should I cite Itasca software in my publication or report?

Please use the following citations when referencing Itasca software in publications.

FLAC 8.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2016) FLAC  Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua, Ver. 8.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.

FLAC 7.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2011) FLAC  Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua, Ver. 7.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.

FLAC3D 5.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2012) FLAC3D  Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua in Three-Dimensions, Ver. 5.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.

PFC 5.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2014) PFC  Particle Flow Code, Ver. 5.0.  Minneapolis: Itasca.

UDEC 6.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2014) UDEC  Universal Distinct Element Code, Ver. 6.0.  Minneapolis: Itasca.

3DEC 5.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.  (2013) 3DEC  Three-Dimensional Distinct Element Code, Ver. 5.0.  Minneapolis: Itasca.

KUBRIX-Geo 15.0

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.  (2015) KUBRIX-Geo, Ver. 15.  Minneapolis: Itasca.

KUBRIX-BlockRanger 1.1

Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.  (2015) KUBRIX-BlockRanger, Ver. 1.1.  Minneapolis: Itasca.

What date was my version of Itasca software released?

FLAC

Version 7.0 released Oct, 2011

Version 6.0 released Aug 2008

Version 5.0 released Apr 2005

Version 4.0 released Sep 2000

Version 3.4 released Sep 1998

Version 3.3 released Apr 1995

Version 3.2 released Nov 1992

Version 3.0 released Sep 1991

Version 2.2 released Jun 1989

Version 2.1 released Nov 1988

Version 2.0 released Mar 1987

Version 1.0 released Feb 1986

FLAC3D

Version 5.0 released Nov 2012

Version 4.0 released Dec 2009

Version 3.1 released Dec 2006

Version 3.0 released Oct 2005

Version 2.1 released Mar 2002

Version 2.0 released May 1997

Version 1.1 released Jan 1996

Version 1.0 released Aug 1994

UDEC

Version 6.0 released February 2014

Version 5.0 released May 2011

Version 4.0 released Oct 2004

Version 3.1 released Dec 1999

Version 3.0 released Oct 1996

Version 2.0 released Nov 1993

Version 1.8 released Jun 1992

Version 1.7 released May 1991

Version 1.6 released --- 1990

Version 1.5 released --- 1989

Version 1.4 released --- 1988

Version 1.3 released --- 1987

Version 1.2 released --- 1986

Version 1.1 released --- 1985

3DEC

Version 5.0 released Aug 2013

Version 4.1 released Dec 2007

Version 3.0 released Mar 2003

Version 2.0 released Dec 1998

Version 1.5 released Mar 1994

Version 1.3 released --- 1991

Version 1.2 released --- 1990

Version 1.1 released --- 1989

Version 1.0 released --- 1988

PFC2D

Version 5.0 released April 2014

Version 4.0 released Dec 2008

Version 3.1 released Nov 2004

Version 3.0 released Nov 2002

Version 2.0 released Jun 1999

Version 1.1 released Mar 1995

Version 1.0 released Dec 1994

PFC3D

Version 5.0 released April 2014

Version 4.0 released Oct 2008

Version 3.1 released Aug 2005

Version 3.0 released Jun 2003

Version 2.0 released Nov 1999

Version 1.1 released Nov 1995

KUBRIX Geo

Version 15 released May 2015

Version 14 released Dec 2013

Version 12 released Oct 2012

Can I virtualize Itasca software?

This is not explicitly supported. If users can successfully do so, they are not prohibited in any way from using the software in that manner.

Can I run Itasca software remotely?

This is not explicitly supported. If users can successfully do so, they are not prohibited in any way from using the software in that manner.

Can I run Itasca software on a network?

Yes, by purchasing a Network License, server-client based configurations with 1 to n seats can be set up. The Network License differs from the Standard License (single, per-machine license) in that it permits users within the same organization to utilize their Itasca software even if they are in a location remote from the hardlock USB key and that it provides better management and license maintenance for an organization's IT administrators. Further, program calculation speed on a server will be comparable to a local Standard License. However, the following should also be considering when evaluating a Network license.

  1. Operations such as plotting on your local PC may be affected by network speed.
  2. With the Standard License, you can run two instances of the program on a single computer, whereas the Network License is limited strictly to the number of seats purchased. So, if you have one Standard License, you can run two instances of the code (on one computer), but with a 1-seat Network License, you can run only one instance over the network at any one time. However, the network seat is checked out from the network key only when the software is cycling (i.e., the seats are not checked out for problem set-up and post-processing analysis).
  3. Standard Licenses can have different options and be upgraded at different times. With a Network License, all seats must have the same options and be at the same software version.

Clients who are interested in this are encouraged to contact their Itasca sales agent for more information.

Does Itasca software support multiple processors?

Yes, the current versions of FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC are multi-threaded. Certain features of all the codes have not been made multi-threaded yet (e.g., FISH scripting), and if they are used, they will reduce the overall benefit gained from multiple processors. Also, the software will show a different performance benefit when running on multiple cores or processors. FLAC3D generally performs best, as much as five times faster on a six-core CPU. These results will vary depending on the particular model and features being used.

Because of memory issues, we have shown consistent reduced multi-threading efficiency when running on a multi-CPU computer, regardless of the number of cores in each CPU. In this case, it is possible you will see increased overall efficiency from running two models in parallel on that hardware rather than in a series.

Can I couple Itasca software?

Yes. With the appropriate options, Itasca software can couple thermal, hydro, and mechanical models together within the same software. Also, using socket connections via FISH or Python (PFC only, currently) scripting, it is possible to transfer data in one or both directions between other Itasca software and third-party applications (e.g., CFD software).

In addition, starting with FLAC3D 6, our software will become modular, allowing the various software to plug into one another. Initially, this will permit FLAC3D models to interact with PFC3D models within the same framework/GUI. With the release of PFC 6, FLAC3D zones can be used within PFC3D models. Similar 3DEC modules are also being developed for its next major release.