16 June 2014

Goals for future development

The mid-term review is approaching, so it is time to highlight what is done, what is underway and what are the future goals. In this post I will try to do so as clearly as possible.

Mid-term review

The main effort during the first part of the Google Summer of Code was the implementation of the bindings for the UFL language in Octave. Now UFL code can be written directly in m-files, without the need of a separate file to define the problem. To this end, ufl has been implemented for opening a file, writing to it and importing the variational problem when it is complete.

Further, I implemented interpolate, which allows the interpolation of a Function or an Expression on a given FunctionSpace. This can be of interest to test the validity of a discretisation method, for instance if an analytical solution is available in closed form, so that it is possible to compare it with the numerically obtained one.

Lately, I focused on the build system, both for the package compilation and for the just-in-time ones needed to import variational problems in Octave. The former is now backed by pkg-config, so that all the proper compiling and linking options required by the dependencies are obtained at once. Thinking about the latter, this information is used to accordingly configure the get_vars function, which provides it to the one that generates the Makefiles used to compile oct-files just-in-time. In the end, currently these oct-files are compiled again only when necessity arises, for example if one of them has been deleted or if the UFL file has been changed.

In the upcoming week I will add another feature: it will be possible to get a function handle for the evaluation of a Function. This way the solution of a variational problem can be used exactly as any other function in Octave, for instance allowing the generalisation of algorithms relying on exact solutions of differential problems, which are thus limited to simple cases. I will provide some details on an application in my post about this feature.

Final review

In the second part of the project I will be mainly committed to the parallelisation of the package execution via MPI. As noted in an earlier post, the parallelisation through the OpenMP paradigm has been quickly abandoned because it does not provide a significant performance gain, while opening the way to bugs and errors. Parallelism is, anyway, an interesting feature for the package's use cases, so it will be the main goal of the final hand in.

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