Program: Courses I & IV (German & English): Free Surface Flow Modelling with Open Source Software

Tutors: Uwe Merkel

(4 day intensive user training, entry level, available in German or English)

Motivation: The numerical modelling of free surface flows undergoes major changes. Almost every university or major company developed their own source code until only few years ago. But since few years, more and more companies join forces and change their software licenses to open source.

One motivation is the fact that it was always necessary to provide source code instead of binaries. Unlike to widespread office software, numerical analysis software almost always deals with non standard cases. Therefore, a universal software package can neither be developed nor could a high number of features be paid by only one developing organisation. As most users extend the code to their own needs anyway, through the Open Source Model everybody can benefit from each others developments. This results in a dramatic increase of features.

A second very important motivation to use Open Source is the need for transparency and acceptance to convince both, clients and critics. Every other engineer can check the correctness of the included formulas.

However, due to the mass of features, it is hard to keep track, and even harder to find the right access point if you start from the scratch with Linux setups, pre- & post processing tools, software versions, mathematical methods or the search for suitable hardware. The theories of hydraulic modelling are taught at universities, but an engineer’s work provides many additional hurdles that have to be taken economically.

Therefore the main goal of our courses is to show you the easiest possible access to a full tool chain of market leading applications like TELEMAC Suite – PARAVIEW – QGIS – Blue Kenue – MPICH – TorquePBS – GNUFortran and CODE::BLOCKS. Avoid beginner’s mistakes, week long trial & error and don’t waste too much time configuring Linux. After the course, you will handle all core disciplines and know the ways to head on auto-didactically.

We learn in 3 steps: Explanation -> Demonstration -> Application, on your own PC!

Day 1:  First Steps in the Telemac Universe

Not all beginnings are difficult if you know where to look for. We analyse the program structures and interfaces. Your first own models will be started from scratch, calculated and analysed in detail by the end of this day.

o        Features, Possibilities & Limits

  • Flow in 2D and 3D
  • Sediments, wind & waves

o        Structure of the Telemac Suite

  • Don’t fear the command line!
  • Files & modules
  • Common mistakes

o        Demonstration: basic examples

  • Analyse datasets with Paraview and an editor
  • Start and monitor calculations
  • Change your configuration


o        Exercise A-I: Hands on the software!

  • Get used to console and scripts
  • Change values and configuration
  • Make mistakes and learn to understand them!

Lunch break

o        Configurations

  • Overview on 600+ options! Do I have to understand them all?
  • Which turbulence model, advection scheme, et cetera is the right one? (1 min)
  • Troubleshooting

o        Demonstration: Pre & post processing

  • PARAVIEW, BlueKenue, QGIS, BaseMesh, OpenOffice etc.
  • Understand the LOG-files


o        Exercise A-II: Build your own model

  • Meshing
  • Configure and calculate
  • Check results with QGIS & Paraview & log-files
  • Excurse on good mesh generation
Day 2:  Postprocessing with Tecplot / Speed up with parallel computing

To consolidate your new knowledge, we repeat Day 1 tasks, but in higher complexity. Now you will realize: computer power can’t be replaced by anything then more computer power. For most practical applications a state of the art office computer with 4 cores or more is good enough. But on demand you can connect your colleagues’ office computers to a cluster within minutes just by booting them up from the live disk. For even more performance you just rent as much as you need from a cloud service provider by hour and control it from your desktop.

o        How parallel processing works

  • Domain decomposition of a large project in many small projects
  • Distribution over several computers and connection via MPI
  • Demonstration: Understand desktop, workstation und cluster layout
  • The right hardware for your purpose
  • Load balancing

o        Exercise B-I: Parallel computing

  • Divide and combine projects: Partel & Gretel
  • Run jobs in different configurations and benchmark it
  • Try fast, efficient, decentralised setups

Lunch break

o        Resource efficiency: Queuing with TorquePBS

  • Queuing jobs
  • Priorities jobs overtake the queue
  • Distribute jobs to different computers
  • Demonstration: Calculating online in the rented cloud

o        Exercise B-II: Queues

  • We connect some our computers to a cluster.
  • We find the fastest combination of our computers with standard office network equipment.
  • The cluster MOM server distributes the jobs of a Monte Carlo sensitivity study between all available computers.
Day 3: Modify and extend your software

Special needs for special projects might need special modifications. Time dependent changes of the geometry, new empiric rules or unprecedented boundary conditions can be coded with only few lines. Don’t fear to mess with the source code! Understand the architecture of the software and avoid the common errors with this introduction in the development. You don’t have to be a programmer to change values. We start at a basic level. But for those who are familiar with FORTRAN we provide advanced exercises.

o        The development environment CODE::BLOCKS

  • The preconfigured environment for Telemac.
  • Little helpers of the IDE

o        Demonstration: Architecture of TELEMAC

  • Find the right variable
  • Working with the mesh (TIN)
  • Basic input & output


o        Exercise C-I: Modify initial and boundary conditions

  • Write your own outputs
  • Roughness and topography modifications
  • Integrate volumes

Lunch break

o        Demonstration: Integrate volumes in parallel computations

o        Compiling

  • Find errors (Debug)
  • Optimize and find bottlenecks (Profiling)

o        Tips, Tricks & Traps

  • Home made accuracy problems (Truncation error)
  • Calculating with mesh arithmetic


o        Exercise C-II: Your own routine

  • Write your own plug-in
  • Working with mesh and time loop
 Day 4:  Course Ia: Advanced Application / Course Ib: Open Lab Day

For those who want to practise more under supervision we offer the „free program“ day 4. The topics are chosen according to participant’s wishes. In the past trainings we used this day to focus on

  • mesh generation
  • sensitivities, uncertainties & professional calibration,
  • post processing with Python, SciPy and MatPlotLib
  • or we designed action plans for real projects participants already have in mind.

We choose the topics in the preliminary talks.

 Training Material

We provide a bootable 512GB SSD with a preinstalled and preconfigured Live Ubuntu/Mint Linux. It includes an extensively tuned collection of programes, with all manuals and examples plus docs. If you work during the training with this disk on your own laptop, we can be sure that all exercises work when you’re back at home, without configuration marathons and messed up primary discs. Please understand that we do not sell software, as all included software is free anyway under LGPL and GNU license.

 Dates & Cost

We limit the number of participants to 10 for this Entry Level Courses, to guarantee individual support and teaching in dialogue form.


  • Dates and places can be organized on demand, even as in house training at your office, as soon as the Travel restrictions finish.

The cost will be

  • “Early birds” reduced fee for bookings until 21 days before a course: 1680€
  • Regular Fee: 1790€

This includes the course itself, catering and the 512GB Training SSD. The additional VAT is applicable according to the laws in the country of presentation.
This equals 19% for trainings in Germany.

Program as PDF

This online version is the current state of the program. We have a couple of PDF programs from past training session. The content evolved over time and the personal demands of the participants bring in new topics for every training. The final program therefore is a product of our topic list and the pre course phone interviews.

Anyway we publish this outdated PDFs as examples, as some of our customers need them as a printed version to get the permission for the course from their companies administration.