• The output system is designed to be just like any other system in MOOSE: modular and expandable.
  • It is possible to create multiple output objects for outputting:
    • at specific time or timestep intervals,
    • custom subsets of variables, and
    • to various file types.
  • Supports common parameters and sub-blocks.

  file_base = <base_file_name> 
  exodus = true
  vtk = true 
    type = Console
    perf_log = true
    max_rows = true
    type = Exodus
    execute_on = 'timestep_end'
    type = Exodus
    file_base = displaced
    use_displaced = true
    interval = 3

Outputs and execute_on

Outputs utilize the "execute_on" parameter like other systems in MOOSE, by default:

  • All objects have execute_on = 'initial timestep_end', with Console objects being the exception.
  • Console objects append 'initial timestep_begin linear nonlinear failed' to the "execute_on" settings at the common level.

When debugging output, use the --show-outputs flag when executing your application. This will add a section near the top of the simulation that shows the settings being used for each output object.

Basic Input File Syntax

  • To enable output an application it must contain an [Outputs] block.
  • The simplest method for enabling output is to utilize the short-cut syntax as shown below, which enables Exodus output for writing data to a file.
  exodus = true   # output to ExodusII file with default settings

Full Block Syntax

  • To take full advantage of the output system the use of sub-blocks is required.
  • These blocks are identical to the previous slide, including the block names (i.e., the short-cut syntax builds these exact blocks).
  • The resulting filenames produced by different syntax is important and discussed in the File Output Names section.
    type = Console   # output to the screen with default settings
    type = Exodus    # output to ExodusII file with default settings

  • The sub-block syntax allows for increased control over the output and allows for multiple outputs of the same type to be specified.
  • The following creates two Exodus outputs, one outputting the a mesh at every time step including the initial condition the other outputs every 3 time steps without the initial condition. Additionally, performance logging was enabled for Console output.

  execute_on = 'timestep_end' # Limit the output to timestep end (removes initial condition)
    type = Console
    perf_log = true          # enable performance logging
    type = Exodus
    execute_on = 'initial timestep_end' # output the initial condition for the file
  [./exodus_3]               # create a second output using a different interval 
    type = Exodus
    file_base = exodus_3     # set the file base (the extension is automatically applied) 
    interval = 3             # only output every third step

Common Output Parameters

  • The Outputs block also supports common parameters.
  • For example, execute_on may be specified outside of individual sub-blocks, indicating that all sub-blocks should output the initial condition. If within a sub-block the parameter is given a different value, the sub-block parameter takes precedence.
  • The input file snippet below demonstrate the usage of a common values as well as the use of multiple output blocks.
  • Console-based outputs have special inheritance of common parameters
    • The execute_on parameter, as detailed below, does not get inherited.
  execute_on = 'timestep_end' # disable the output of initial condition
  vtk = true              # output VTK file with default setting
  print_perf_log = true   # enable the performance log
    type = Exodus
    execute_on = 'initial' # this ExodusII files will contain ONLY the initial condition
    type = Exodus
    file_base = displaced
    use_displaced = true
    interval = 3          # this ExodusII will only output every third time step

Output Execution

  • In similar fashion to many other systems in MOOSE it is possible to control when output occurs via the "execute_on" parameter.
  • By default execute_on = 'initial timestep_end'
  • A convenience parameter, "additional_execute_on", allows appending flags to the existing "execute_on" flags.
  • The toggles shown in Output Execution Toggles operate by appending to the "execute_on" flags.
  • Currently, the following output execution times are available:
Text Flag Description
"initial" executes the output on the initial condition (on by default)
"linear" executes the output on each linear iteration
"nonlinear" executes the output on each non-linear iteration
"timestep_end" calls the output method at the end of the timestep (on by default)
"timestep_begin" executes the output method at the beginning of the timestep
"final" calls the output method on the final timestep
"failed" executes the output method when the solution fails

  • As detailed in the Creating Custom Output Object section, there are two types of outputs classes: BasicOutput and AdvancedOutput.
  • Advanced outputs have additional control beyond execute_on, as detailed in the table below.
Input Parameter Method Controlled
execute_postprocessors_on outputPostprocessors
execute_vector_postprocessors_on outputVectorPostprocessors
execute_elemental_on outputElementalVariables
execute_nodal_on outputNodalVariables
execute_scalar_on outputScalarVariables
execute_system_information_on outputSystemInformation
execute_input_on outputInput

  • Each of the output controls accept the same output execution flags that execute_on utilizes
  • In AdvancedOutput objects, the execute_on settings are used to set the defaults for each of the output type controls.
    • For example, setting execute_on = 'initial timestep_end' causes all of the output types (e.g., postprocessors, scalars, etc.) to execute on each timestep and the initial condition.

File Output Names

  • The default naming scheme for output files utilizes the input file name (e.g., input.i) with a suffix that differs depending on how the output is defined:
    • An "_out" suffix is used for Outputs created using the short-cut syntax.
    • sub-blocks use the actual sub-block name as the suffix.
  • For example, if the input file (input.i) contained the following [Outputs] block, two files would be created: input_out.e and input_other.e.
  console = true
  exodus = true    # creates input_out.e
  [./other]        # creates input_other.e
     type = Exodus
     interval = 2
  • Note, the use of file_base anywhere in the [Outputs] block disables all default naming behavior.

Mesh Displacements

  • The displaced mesh may be output by setting 'use_displaced = true' within your output sub-blocks.
  • To output both the original and displaced mesh an additional output block is required.
  • It is possible to perform oversampling on the displaced mesh, simply enable both.
  console = true
  exodus = true
     type = Exodus
     refinements = 2
     file_base = oversample
     use_displaced = true

In-Block Output Control

  • For certain objects it is possible to control output within the block itself, these objects include:

    • Postprocessors, Indicators, Markers, Variables, and AuxVariables
  • For example, consider the following [Outputs] block that has three output objects defined.

  exodus = true
  csv = true
    type = VTK
    interval = 2
  • Within the sub-blocks of the types listed above it is possible to control which outputs the value will be output using the "outputs" parameter.

  • For illustration purposes, consider the Postprocessors block shown below.
    type = EmptyPostprocessor
    outputs = 'csv'
  • The outputs that should include the postprocessor value may be listed in the "outputs" parameter.
  • The "outputs" parameter limits the defined postprocessor to output only to the csv output object. This highlights the need to understand the naming convention utilized by the short-cut syntax, see the Advanced Syntax section.
  • It is also possible to remove the postprocessor from all outputs by specifiying "outputs = none".

Non-linear/Linear Residual Output

  • Any object inheriting from PetscOutput has the ability to output data on non-linear and/or linear iterations.
  • To enable this add "nonlinear" and/or "linear" to the "execute_on" input parameter.
    type = Exodus
    execute_on = 'timestep_end linear nonlinear'

  • When outputting nonlinear/linear iterations the time is changes from the actual simulation time by creating pseudo time steps.
  • For example, if the [Outputs] block above was associated with a simulation that was taking a time step of 0.1 the resulting output times would use the following convention:
Output Time Description
0.2 Converged solve for time = 0.2
0.2001 First non-linear iteration for time = 0.3
0.2001001 First linear iteration for the first non-linear iteration
0.2001002 Second linear iteration for the first non-linear iteration
0.2002 Second non-linear iteration for time = 0.3
0.2002001 First linear iteration for the second non-linear iteration
0.2002002 Second linear iteration for the second non-linear iteration
0.3 Converged solve for time = 0.3

Supported Types and Syntax

Format Short-cut Sub-block Type C++ Object Comments
Console (screen) output console Console Console Writes to the screen and optionally a file
Exodus II (recommend) exodus Exodus Exodus The most common,well supported, and controllable output type
VTK vtk VTK VTKOutput Visual Analysis Toolkit format, requires --enable-vtk when building libMesh
GMV gmv GMV GMVOutput General Mesh Viewer format
Nemesis nemesis Nemesis Nemesis Parallel Exodus II format
Tecplot tecplot Tecplot Tecplot Support is limited, requires --enable-tecplot when building libMesh
XDA xda XDA XDA libMesh internal format (ascii)
XDR xdr XDR XDA libMesh internal format (binary)
CSV csv CSV CSV Comma separated scalar values
GNUplot gnuplot GNUPlot GNUPlot Only support scalar outputs
Checkpoint checkpoint Checkpoint Checkpoint MOOSE internal format used for restart and recovery
Solution History solution_history SolutionHistory SolutionHistory MOOSE internal format used for writing solution history

Creating Custom Output Object

  • When creating a new output object, the new object must inherit from one of two templated base classes: BasicOutput or AdvancedOutput.
  • For either base class, the template parameter should be one of the following four output classes:
Base Class Description
Output the most general output base class, this should be used for simple output classes that require very little control over execution, see MaterialPropertyDebugOutput
PetscOutput provides the ability to execute output calls on linear and nonlinear residual calculations.
FileOutput adds the basic functions and parameters need to write to a file.
OversampleOutput adds the ability to utilize an oversampled mesh for outputting.

Note, the four classes listed above inherit from each other, so FileOutput is a PetscOutput, see the inheritance diagram for a visual representation: Output.

Creating a BasicOutput

Basic output objects are designed for simple output cases that perform a single output task and do not require control over individual types of output.

  • When creating a basic output object, the user must override a single virtual method: output(const OutputExecFlagType & type).
  • This method should perform all the necessary commands to perform the output.
  • The OutputExecFlagType specifies what execute flag the output is currently being called with(e.g., "initial"). This type is a proper Enum and the possible values are listed in include/base/Moose.h.

Creating an AdvancedOutput

Advanced output objects provide additional control over various output types (e.g., postprocessors).

  • When creating an advanced output object a call to the static method enableOutputTypes must exist in the new objects validParams method that indicates which types of outputs the new object will be responsible for outputting. For example, the Exodus output validParams method includes:
InputParameters params = validParams<AdvancedOutput<OversampleOutput> >();
params += AdvancedOutput<OversampleOutput>::enableOutputTypes("nodal elemental scalar 
                                                              postprocessor input");

Each of the keywords listed in this method enable a call to the associated output method, as detailed in the following table.

Enable Keyword Associated Method
"nodal" outputNodalVariables
"elemental" outputElementalVariables
"scalar" outputScalarVariables
"postprocessor" outputPostprocessors
"vector_postprocessor" outputVectorPostprocessors
"input" outputInput
"system_information" outputSystemInformation

These methods are the virtual methods that must be overloaded in the custom output object.

  • For example, if "nodal" output in enabled the outputNodalVariables should be overloaded. Each of these methods includes the OutputExecFlagType as an input variable to the method.