My talk from FEniCS’16

In my talk at FEniCS’16 at Simula Research Laboratory in Oslo, I talked about FEniCS installation and documentation.

Ever since the first version of FEniCS in 2002 (2003), installation has been a challenging issue, and 15 years later we still struggle. The reason is that FEniCS is a complex piece of software consisting of several packages that in turn depend on other packages (which are themselves nontrivial to configure and build).

Recently I’ve been playing around with Docker containers (based on excellent work by Jack Hale, Lizao Li and Garth N. Wells). Docker allows users (and developers!) to run FEnICS in isolated preconfigured, reusable and disposable containers. Running a FEniCS session using our Docker containers is just a matter of typing a single command:

fenicsproject run

To try out the containers, visit the FEniCS web page and try following the instructions. I hope the instructions make sense and will be very interested  in feedback on how the instructions or installation experience can be improved and made as smooth as possible.

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Anders Logg is Professor of Computational Mathematics at Chalmers University of Technology. His research interests are adaptive finite element methods, high-level automating software systems for solution of PDE, domain-specific languages and compilers in scientific computing, and applications in biomedicine, general relativity, and architecture. Logg is head of the unit for Computational Mathematics and excellence profile leader within Chalmers Area of Advance the Built Environment. He is director of the Swedish Network for Mathematics in Industry and member of the EMS Applied Mathematics Committee and the Swedish National Committee for Mathematics. He is co-founder and a core developer of the FEniCS Project, a leading open-source software for automated solution of PDE. Logg works part-time as scientific advisor to Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre and Simula Research Laboratory.

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