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Running VisIt Software on the Eagle System

On Eagle, learn how to run VisIt software—a free interactive parallel visualization and graphical analysis tool for viewing scientific data on Unix and PC platforms.

With VisIt, users can quickly generate visualizations from their data, animate them through time, manipulate them, and save the resulting images for presentations. It contains a rich set of visualization features so that you can view your data in a variety of ways. Also, it can be used to visualize scalar and vector fields defined on two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) structured and unstructured meshes.

VisIt was designed to handle very large data set sizes in the terascale range, and yet can also handle small data sets in the kilobyte range.

For more information on VisIt, see the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory website

Using VisIt

VisIt features a robust remote visualization capability. VisIt can be started on a local machine and used to visualize data on a remote compute cluster. The remote machine must be able to send/receive information for X-windows. If an Xwindows application is not present on your machine you will have to install one. Currently, XQuartz 2.7.4 on MacOSX running Mountain Lion has been tested.

An appropriate version of VisIt must be running on the local machine. The version on the local machine must match the version running on Eagle. Currently, VisIt v2.13.3 is built in serial with gcc on Eagle and is available as a module. The VisIt running locally can be configured to logon to Eagle, but the VisIt module must be loaded as part of this process. To enable remote visualization the 'module load visit' command must be in the .bashrc file in the home directory of the user on Eagle, e.g.:

# .bashrc

module load visit

The user will need to download VisIt 2.13.3 for the appropriate platform. An installer for the pre-compiled binaries labelled Mac OS X - Intel 64 bit at the download site has been tested on MaOSX 10.8.4. Once this is done and VisIt runs for the first time, a '.visit' directory will be created in $HOME. VisIt will provide remote profiles at startup; however, NREL is not yet provided as default location. To install the correct profile

  1. Quit VisIt after choosing the default profile setup ('None')
  2. Copy the file host-eagle.xml to $HOME/.visit/hosts
  3. Restart VisIt.

The installed profile can be viewed and edited by clicking on 'Options --> Host profiles ... '. A remote host profile should appear.

Enter your username for the Eagle account (this can also be done at login time when prompted by VisIt for your network password). After making any changes be sure to hit the 'Apply' button, and save your changes: 'Options --> Save Settings'. Before loading any data you must ensure that an appropriate plugin is specified. Go to 'Options --> Plugin Manager ... ' and select the 'Databases' tabs.

A list of provided plugins is shown on the left. If the plugin is present, highlight the plugin and hit 'Add to preferred list'. You can also change the plugin precedence by highlighting the added plugins on the right and using the 'Up/Down' buttons.