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Scientific Programming
Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 263-272

An Interactive Environment for Supporting the Transition from Simulation to Optimization

Christian H. Bischof, H. Martin Bücker, Bruno Lang, and Arno Rasch

Received 2 December 2003; Accepted 2 December 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Numerical simulation is a powerful tool in science and engineering, and it is also used for optimizing the design of products and experiments rather than only for reproducing the behavior of scientific and engineering systems. In order to reduce the number of simulation runs, the traditional "trial and error" approach for finding near-to-optimum design parameters is more and more replaced with efficient numerical optimization algorithms. Done by hand, the coupling of simulation and optimization software is tedious and error-prone. In this note we introduce a software environment called EFCOSS (Environment For Combining Optimization and Simulation Software) that facilitates and speeds up this task by doing much of the required work automatically. Our framework includes support for automatic differentiation providing the derivatives required by many optimization algorithms. We describe the process of integrating the widely used computational fluid dynamics package FLUENT and a MINPACK-1 least squares optimizer into EFCOSS and follow a sample session solving a data assimilation problem.