[MBDyn-users] Refactoring of MBDyn's NetCDF interface

Rix, Patrick Patrick.Rix at repower.de
Wed May 11 12:49:23 CEST 2011

Hi Pierangelo,
dear MBDyn users,

I'd like to rework / enhance MBDyn's NetCDF output and wanted to make suggestions for modifications / improvements of the current implementation.
And I'd like to encourage other users who are interested in the binary output to bring in their ideas, too.
The list below are some points which I felt to be important - if I overlooked or forgot something important please add.

List of suggested modifications
1.) adding a parameter / switch for toggling between a MONOTLITHIC or SPLITTED DATABASE
this way the user can decide if he wants to have one (big) single  .nc file with the output of all nodes, joints, beams, foces, etc. in it
(as it this is currently the case) or if he prefers to have several files with output sorted by element-type just exactly as it is right now the
for text output: so to each text file would exist a corresponding binary .nc file existing, e.g. additional to  'output.mov'  we would have
a 'output.mov.nc'.
Having one single file is very handy and for small models, short time series or less output this might be preferrable but for large models
with a lot of nodes/elems and long time series the file can fastly become impractically large even for binary format.

2.) adding a switch to toggle the output data type between DOUBLE / FLOAT
to enable the user to adapt the output to his needs depending on whether precision or less required disk space has higher priority.

[ 3.) ?OPTIONAL?: thinking about a general philosophy for storing time independent data with informal / descriptive character to avoid problems in Blender ]
The problems in Blender are caused by the NetCDF-IO routines of the SciPy package (which are included in the MBDyn NetCDF interface for Blender) - so there is no
error in MBDyn's nc output.
But on the other hand one could discuss if it does make more sense to separate model topology informations from the time series data.
I think it would increase the overview having a small file with the model specific information (total number of nodes & elements and their mbdyn types, references between nodes & elems, etc.)
Model topology information could be written into a binary nc file, too, but I think these might be better written in XML(?) for displaying the relations between items in a tree view.
Maybe someone else has a better idea how the model topology could be visualized best ?

4.) completion of the list of elements with NetCDF-output capabilities

5.) what else ?

Best regards,

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