Mr. Hughes has extensive experience working at ICL on developing enhancements to the InSite application including a new 3D visualizer, tools for velocity model calibration, array analysis, discrete fracture network inversion, source scan location and the real-time triggering of data from miniSEED files and multiple arrays.
He has also revised and enhanced the data acquisition software used with ICL’s laboratory test equipment. His expertise is in the use of the C++ programming language using Visual Studio. In addition to this, he has extensive experience using MFC, OpenGL, HDF5, SQL Server, .NET and TCP/IP socket programming.
In total, he has over 30 years of experience developing software, mainly PC based, but also hosted on embedded and IP telephony platforms. Mr. Hughes holds a B.A. in Physics from Oxford University.
Mr. Flynn is an applied physicist with a diverse technical background with over 20 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems, with a focus on acoustic emission and ultrasonic monitoring for the past 8 years.
He is the General Manager of the ICL office and also the product manager for ICL’s range of hardware products.
The speed performance of Itasca software is principally affected by two computer hardware elements: processor(s) and RAM. It is extremely rare, but hard drive space also can be a concern. Graphics cards can negatively affect rendering and cause crashes in the worst cases.
For each Itasca program (FLAC, UDEC, FLAC3D, 3DEC, and PFC), a set of suggested minimum system requirements is provided. These are the lowest hardware specifications that can be used with no expectation of performance issues. As such, they are recommendations, not guarantees.
For today's consumer, the range of computer configurations is effectively infinite. As this is the case, Itasca cannot guarantee the performance of any particular system, and therefore cannot make recommendations about computers or computer components that users should buy. Only direct testing can be used to issue a guarantee of performance, and, regrettably, Itasca cannot perform an infinite number of tests to issue such guarantees.
We recognize that the purchase of Itasca software represents a significant commitment on the part of our users and that users are understandably interested in ensuring they have the optimum computer system for running an Itasca software. Given the caveats above, the information provided below represents our best effort to guide the user who intends to purchase a computer for use with Itasca software.
Processor speeds, attributes, and architectures vary widely. Generally, the faster the processor, the faster it will calculate with Itasca software. The computer buyer who can ascertain that one processor should work faster for other software products can reasonably expect that this will be true when running an Itasca program. Regarding specific processors, Itasca can offer little insight beyond what is mentioned in the next item.
Processors have a speed rating reported by the manufacturer, but on current computers, these ratings are nearly impossible to compare effectively between manufacturers. In addition, the "real-world" performance of the processor on a computer will be significantly affected by hardware and software configurations—the same processor may perform quite differently from one computer to the next, based on configuration differences.
While we do not use compiler settings to optimize our software to any specific CPU, we do use Intel processors during development. Algorithmic choices based on performance are made using tests on Intel hardware. We also use the Intel C++ compiler to produce the release-optimized software. There is some evidence to support the notion that the Intel C++ optimizer produces output that does not run as well on AMD processors. However, we do not have specific side-by-side benchmarks of comparable processors to support this conclusively.
The current versions of FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC are multi-threaded. Not all features of all the software have been made multi-threaded yet, and if they are used, they will reduce the overall benefit gained from multiple processors. Also, the software will show a different performance benefit when running on multiple cores or processors. FLAC3D generally performs best, as much as five times faster on a six-core CPU. These results will vary depending on the particular model and features being used.
Because of memory issues, we have shown consistently reduced multi-threading efficiency when running on a multi-CPU computer, regardless of the number of cores in each CPU. In this case, it is possible you will see increased overall efficiency from running two models in parallel on that hardware rather than in a series.
In this case, more is always better. RAM is used by Itasca programs to store the model while the program is running. The larger the model, the more RAM needed. If RAM is unavailable, the program will have to swap information to the hard drive, at which point calculation speed will slow to a crawl. The amount of RAM you actually need is predicated completely on the size of the models you expect to create. Only you can know that, and therefore, this is a question to which only you know the answer. For certain types of calculation (thermal or fluid flow calculations in FLAC3D, for instance), bus speed can be a very important factor. Maximizing memory bus speed and cache size can avoid "bottlenecks" (pinched down memory access to the processor) that can slow calculation speed when handling large models.
One that implements OpenGL 1.5 or higher. This is necessary for FLAC3D, 3DEC, PFC2D, and PFC3D. It is not necessary for FLAC or UDEC. However, this specification is on the low side; users of contemporary computers and operating systems with graphics cards that do not meet this level are almost certain to encounter problems with many of their programs, not just Itasca's. Also, maximizing the memory on the graphics card will positively affect software performance, though it is not critical.
At present, the current versions of Itasca programs are supported on the 64-bit version of Windows 8 and Windows 10. Be aware that any Windows system not mentioned is not explicitly supported and users are advised to proceed at their own risk. Itasca software is not supported on Macintosh or Linux computers; although XSite does have a Linux version. Itasca cannot recommend a particular operating system from among those supported, as their performance is absolutely contingent on the hardware environment in which they operate.
Itasca Consulting Group engineers run their models on "crunchers," which are powerful PC computers. Our IT team currently (May 2018) defines the following system configurations as crunchers. These are only general recommendations, as Mainboard Bios versions and other software/firmware will affect the systems performance.
Off the shelf, built to order, server/rack based System:
As far as a “Laptop cruncher” we recommend that for heavy duty “Crunching” that you use a desktop system as Laptops just don’t have the CPU/Power/Cores or the 128 of RAM Capacity that you can get with the x299 Intel Mainboard spec.
However, we do have some of our engineers using this Dell XPS 7590 laptop spec for smaller models that need 32 GB of RAM or less:
While we are currently running the machine configurations listed above in a production environment, and they are working well, this information is provided only as an example of any of 100’s possible configurations, and therefore is provided only “as is”.
Itasca software licenses (and any enabled options) have two parts,
the “License Term” and the “License Type”. The license term may extend
over a period of time of a monthly lease, an annual lease, or in
perpetuity. The license type may be either a standard or network USB
security key (i.e., hardware lock). When the USB key is not present, the
program operates in "Demonstration Mode".
We are commonly asked about the most cost-effective licensing
option. However, there are too many variables involved to definitively
Understanding the tradeoffs between these license types and how they fit with your individual needs is essential to determining which one makes the most sense for you.
With monthly leasing, per-month cost is likely to average out to be most expensive. However, this option provides the most flexibility, and for users who anticipate needing the software for less than six months or intermittently over a period of years, this is could be the lowest cost option. Also, the lease-to-own capability provides the lowest cost approach to “deciding” on the longer-term commitment of purchasing a perpetual license.
With annual leasing, per-month cost is likely to be moderately lower than monthly leasing. However, these annual lease payments cannot be applied to purchase of a perpetual license. Here the principal benefits are the ability to annualize ownership costs, which can ease budgeting processes, and the avoidance of the “to upgrade or not upgrade” decision-making that must occur with each major software upgrade.
With a perpetual license, purchasing the license and pre-purchasing major upgrades (which are usually priced lower than the upgrade price after the upgrade is released) is the likely-but-not-guaranteed lowest cost option over the long term, keeping in mind the variables mentioned at the start of this section. In addition, this is the only license type that remains functional over time (it cannot “lapse”). However, this license type has the largest acquisition cost and requires further cost-benefit analysis with the release of each major upgrade.
A Network version allows one instance of the software, per seat, to cycle on any computer connected to the network.
As of June 1, 2008, a licensing policy emendation is being implemented in all subsequent releases of Itasca software and is applicable to all users (both new users and those who are upgrading to the new version). The policy, as described in the License Terms, is: "A standard single license allows up to two instances of the software to cycle on a single computer" and was created for the following reasons.
Under the previous terms of the licensing policy, we did not restrict the number of software operating on a single computer under a standard license. If multiple instances of the software were being run, then they would execute proportionally slower. As multi-core and multi-processor computers became popular, it became a concern that owning such a computer effectively granted multiple licenses, because multiple instances could be run with no loss of speed. This was counter to the intent of our licensing.
At the time that we decided to change our licensing policy, dual-core computers were already in common use. Therefore, we decided to allow two simultaneous instances per license instead of restricting it to one. We also changed the security implementation so that a license is claimed only while cycling, allowing multiple instances to continue to be used for problem setup and post-processing analysis.
There are a range of problems that may arise related to the user's
key (also sometimes referred to as the USB key, hardware lock, hardlock,
or dongle) that secures Itasca software. The steps below, which move
from least to most severe, are actions the end-user can take prior to
contacting Itasca for technical support in the event that there is a
key-related problem at program startup. For complete information about troubleshooting the Gemalto USB key, please download Gemalto's End User Troubleshooting Guide and visit their website.
1) Cycle the key through the other USB ports.
Often, a key problem can come from a conflict or corruption in the
settings that match up the key, the key driver, and the specific USB
port in use (all three components are in play to make any USB device
work). This situation most commonly occurs when the key provided for use
with the Itasca software gets plugged in before the software is
installed, causing Windows to automatically assign an incorrect driver
to that port/key pair.
To perform this step, remove the key and put it into a different USB
port. If the step works, popup notifications like the ones below will
appear in the lower right corner of the screen (the exact pop-ups and
text will vary depending on the Windows operating system in use).
If this occurs, try the software again. At this juncture, it should
work. Also, the key should be able to be put back in the original USB
port and work correctly. If this doesn't happen on the first new USB
port you try, continue working through all the available USB ports on a
machine before moving on to the next step.
2) Download and install the latest drivers for the key from the Gemalto website (get the item "Sentinel System Driver Installer for Sentinel SuperPro, UltraPro & SHK" at the top of the page).
Gemalto is the company that manufactures the USB keys, and it is also the developer of the driver for the key. Their website provides the latest drivers for the Sentinel USB key.
It is recommended that the security key be removed before running the driver installation.
This step is quite safe; the SafeNet installation will not overwrite a
newer driver with an older one. Updating to a newer driver through a
clean installation can clear up the problems stemming from cases of
conflict, corruption, or other issues related to the presence of earlier
Sentinel USB key drivers.
3) Download and run the the "SSD CleanUp" utility from Gemalto and retry installation.
The "SSD Cleanup" utility is provided on the same page of the Gemalto website
as the latest driver download. Note there are two versions available,
one for 32-bit and one for 64-0bit Windows. The user must select the
appropriate version. These are listed last on the "Windows Drivers &
This utility removes all traces of the current and any past Sentinel
key driver installations. To use, we recommend the following steps:
During this sequence, be sure to follow any instructions to reboot the computer as they appear.
If none of the steps described on this page resolves the problem, please contact Itasca.
It will be helpful to provide a screenshot of the key error message
you receive when starting the code, if possible. Be sure to provide the
name and version of the Itasca software you are running, the operating
system you are using, and the exact text of the error(s) or warning(s)
that occur on startup.
Current versions of Itasca software are supported on the following Windows operating systems.
Any other operating system not specifically listed above is NOT
supported by Itasca for use with Itasca software. Itasca software may
run on these platforms, but as they are not supported, Itasca provides
no assurance of compatibility with them and will not provide support for
Itasca's 32-bit software are operable on 64-bit computer
systems; however, they are not 64-bit programs and do not have 64-bit
addresses. Itasca recommends that, whenever possible, users run versions
of Itasca software matched to the 32-bit or 64-bit environment of their
In general, when new Windows operating systems are released, it
becomes possible, even likely, that there will be errors if users try to
use their old installation files for an Itasca program on the new
operating system. In this case, it is strongly recommended that the user
obtain the latest installation USB or DVD available from Itasca for their software.
If you are experiencing problems related to your operating system
that are not resolved by the information available here, feel free to contact Itasca (link sends e-mail) for assistance with your issue.
Itasca software is Windows 10 compatible. Testing confirms that the
current versions of Itasca software at the time of the Windows 10
release (FLAC 7.0. FLAC3D 5.0, UDEC 6.0, 3DEC 5.0, PFC2D 5.0, PFC3D 5.0) are
fully operable on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10 systems. Until Windows
10 is no longer supported by Itasca, these versions and higher of each
Itasca software may be expected to be supported on Windows 10. Itasca is
committed to supporting our software on the latest commonly available
Windows operating systems. If you feel there is an error operating your
software that is related to the Windows 10 operating system, please let us know. Please be aware that previous versions of the Itasca software listed above are not
supported for use with Windows 10, though users are not prohibited in
any way from using them if they find them operable on that operating
Itasca's end-user license agreement does not prohibit use of Itasca
software on non-Windows platforms (Mac, Linux). However, as stated
above, Itasca provides no support for these systems, and it is
completely up to the user to do what is needed to install and run Itasca
software on these systems, if possible at all.
Maybe. Our experience is that the software itself will work without any difficulties on any
Windows operating system, and that the principal problem to be
anticipated when going to non-supported Windows operating systems is
key-related errors. If one of these occurs, a user can contact SafeNet technical support
for help. If there is no key error and the program can be started and
cycled, then we expect that it will, in all other respects, be
compatible with the operating system. However, we cannot confirm this
result as we ourselves have not tested these systems as part of our
quality assurance measures, since they are not officially supported.
Your software serial number can be found in the letter included with
your software shipment. It is also included on the tag attached to your
blue (standard) or red (network) USB hardlock key.
You can also find your serial number using your software,
provided your USB hardlock key is installed on your computer or network
Click the Console tab beneath the File menu item.
Option 1: You will see the serial number displayed on the third line in the Console.
Option 2: At any time you can type "Print Security" in the command line at the bottom of the Console and hit the "Enter" key.
Option 1: You will see the serial number displayed on the second line in the Console.
Option 2: You can also see the serial number displayed in the black Command Prompt display.
Click the Command line beneath the Console pane. Type "LIST Security" and hit the "Enter" key.
You can find your serial number displayed in the black Command Prompt display.
Click the About XSite tab beneath the Help menu item.
A window will pop-up indicating your license serial number as shown below.
With each new software release or update, a new set of installation
and ancillary files are made available so that users have the most
advanced and functional version of our software.
By default, Itasca now distributes all installation, support, and
supplemental files required to install, run, and use its software via a
USB memory stick. Because its contents change with each software release
or update, the USB stick is serialized to provide tracking information
and to assist in customer support. The serial number identifies the
release version of the Itasca USB.
Yes, some companies and government agencies will not permit their
personnel to use USB memory sticks at work for security reasons.
As such, Itasca is happy to continue to support DVDs for installing
its software upon request. Because its contents change with each
software release or update, the DVD is serialized to provide tracking
information and to assist in customer support. The serial number
identifies the release version of the Itasca DVD.
Itasca Consulting Group is the principle office that develops
Itasca's geomechanical software. You may download the following from
Please use the following citations when referencing Itasca software in publications.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2016) FLAC — Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua, Ver. 8.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2017) FLAC3D — Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua in Three-Dimensions, Ver. 6.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2018) PFC — Particle Flow Code, Ver. 6.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2018) UDEC — Universal Distinct Element Code, Ver. 7.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2016) 3DEC — Three-Dimensional Distinct Element Code, Ver. 5.2. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2015) KUBRIX-Geo, Ver. 15. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2016) BlockRanger, Ver. 1.1. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (2016) Griddle, Ver. 1.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.
Version 5.2 released Nov 2016
Version 5.0 released Aug 2013
Version 4.1 released Dec 2007
Version 3.0 released Mar 2003
Version 2.0 released Dec 1998
Version 1.5 released Mar 1994
Version 1.3 released --- 1991
Version 1.2 released --- 1990
Version 1.1 released --- 1989
Version 1.0 released --- 1988
Version 8.1 released Oct, 2019
Version 8.0 released Mar, 2016
Version 7.0 released Oct, 2011
Version 6.0 released Aug 2008
Version 5.0 released Apr 2005
Version 4.0 released Sep 2000
Version 3.4 released Sep 1998
Version 3.3 released Apr 1995
Version 3.2 released Nov 1992
Version 3.0 released Sep 1991
Version 2.2 released Jun 1989
Version 2.1 released Nov 1988
Version 2.0 released Mar 1987
Version 1.0 released Feb 1986
Version 7.0 released July 2019 Version 6.0 released Apr 2017
Version 5.0 released Nov 2012
Version 4.0 released Dec 2009
Version 3.1 released Dec 2006
Version 3.0 released Oct 2005
Version 2.1 released Mar 2002
Version 2.0 released May 1997
Version 1.1 released Jan 1996
Version 1.0 released Aug 1994
Version 1.0 released Sep 2016
Version 15 released May 2015
Version 14 released Dec 2013
Version 12 released Oct 2012
Version 6.0 released Dec 2018
Version 5.0 released April 2014
Version 4.0 released Dec 2008
Version 3.1 released Nov 2004
Version 3.0 released Nov 2002
Version 2.0 released Jun 1999
Version 1.1 released Mar 1995
Version 1.0 released Dec 1994
Version 4.0 released Oct 2008
Version 3.1 released Aug 2005
Version 3.0 released Jun 2003
Version 2.0 released Nov 1999
Version 1.1 released Nov 1995
Version 7.0 released July 2019
Version 6.0 released Feb 2014
Version 5.0 released May 2011
Version 4.0 released Oct 2004
Version 3.1 released Dec 1999
Version 3.0 released Oct 1996
Version 2.0 released Nov 1993
Version 1.8 released Jun 1992
Version 1.7 released May 1991
Version 1.6 released --- 1990
Version 1.5 released --- 1989
Version 1.4 released --- 1988
Version 1.3 released --- 1987
Version 1.2 released --- 1986
Version 1.1 released --- 1985
Version 3.0 released Aug 2019
Version 2.0 released Aug 2018
This is not explicitly supported. If users can successfully do so, they are not prohibited in any way from using the software in that manner.
Yes, by purchasing a Network License, server-client based configurations with 1 to n
seats can be set up. The Network License differs from the Standard
License (single, per-machine license) in that it permits users within
the same organization to utilize their Itasca software even if they are
in a location remote from the hardlock USB key and that it provides
better management and license maintenance for an organization's IT
administrators. Further, program calculation speed on a server will be
comparable to a local Standard License. However, the following should
also be considering when evaluating a Network license.
Clients who are interested in this are encouraged to contact their Itasca sales agent for more information.
Yes, the current versions of FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, and PFC are multi-threaded. Certain features of all the codes have not been made multi-threaded yet (e.g., FISH scripting),
and if they are used, they will reduce the overall benefit gained from
multiple processors. Also, the software will show a different
performance benefit when running on multiple cores or processors. FLAC3D generally
performs best, as much as five times faster on a six-core CPU. These
results will vary depending on the particular model and features being
Because of memory issues, we have shown consistent reduced
multi-threading efficiency when running on a multi-CPU computer,
regardless of the number of cores in each CPU. In this case, it is
possible you will see increased overall efficiency from running two
models in parallel on that hardware rather than in a series.
the appropriate options, Itasca software can couple thermal, hydro, and
mechanical models together within the same software. Also, using socket
connections via FISH or Python (PFC only, currently)
scripting, it is possible to transfer data in one or both directions
between other Itasca software and third-party applications (e.g., CFD
In addition, starting with FLAC3D 6, our software will become modular, allowing the various software to plug into one another. Initially, this will permit FLAC3D models to interact with PFC3D models within the same framework/GUI. With the release of PFC 6, FLAC3D zones can be used within PFC3D models. Similar 3DEC modules are also being developed for its next major release.
The adapter address (also called MAC address, hardware address,
network address, or physical address) of your network card
uniquely identifies your computer on the network.
Please follow the instructions below to easily find your computer’s adapter address.
generated interactively or manually, the basic description of most
Itasca models is a data file. A data file is a standard text file
containing commands that completely specify a model, from model creation
to additional sequential operations required to undertake physical
At first exposure, the fact that Itasca software uses data files to
describe the model may seem antiquated, perhaps a relic of 1970's
program design. To the contrary, this form of model description has
proven to be quite valuable. It is integral to the powerful modeling
capability of Itasca sofware. As our user interface design matures, our
goal is not to remove the command-driven interface but, instead, to
simplify its use, making simulations easier to undertake while retaining
the flexibility that this design enables.
Below are a few reasons that using a data file description is advantageous.
Even the most complex models can be created by a set of data files
that are generally not more than a few hundred lines in length. In fact,
the vast majority of models are far smaller. This fact means that the
complete description of your model resides in a text file that is only a
few kilobytes in size. As a result, it is trivial to share your model
with others, email it to Itasca for support, archive your model for
future reference, and use versioning software to track changes.
Itasca works very hard to ensure that the same version of the code
and the same data file will always produce the same result to machine
precision. This means that when you send Itasca, your colleagues, or
your clients a data file, you know that the result will be unchanging.
Thus it is not necessary to archive the complete results of a modeling
effort, which may be many gigabytes of save and result files. Instead,
one can just retain the data file and the code version used to execute
Except for the most trivial models using the simplest of materials, the path
used to reach the solution is a very important part of the model
description. A data file allows the sequence of events to be described
clearly and flexibly. Many programs may offer excavation sequence
options, but the data file allows any sequence of events to be
made as needed. This includes changes to boundary conditions, changes to
material properties, changes to fluid interactions, etc., as well as
changes to the excavation sequencing. If one were to design a graphical
user interface to include the entire list of options available via a
data file, the result would be complex, requiring clumsy tools to edit
The data file allows the user maximum flexibility in model creation
and processing, including the order in which things are specified. While
there is a standard sequence of simulation steps recommended for simple
models (e.g., geometry creation, naming of regions, material and
property specification, boundary conditions, initial conditions,
solving, excavating, solving, etc.), every model is different. Often
complex models require modifications to the standard simulation
progression. Itasca is committed to the idea of not constraining users
to a small set of simulation options, providing users with the ability
and tools to undertake physical simulations in the way they see fit.
The ability to combine model-creation commands with scripting in
Itasca software is tremendously powerful. For instance, an entire class
of models can be investigated by trivially changing a set of initial
parameters within a data file. Application of complex sequences,
geometries, property distributions, etc. may be automated with a script
in a way that would be very time consuming and difficult to replicate in
a traditional graphical user interface. In addition, in-depth model
querying and the inclusion of new physical phenomena, not built into the
software, can be introduced via user-created scripts that execute
One downside to such a command-driven interface is that it can
seem imposing to new users, who may have the impression that mastery of a
large number of complex commands is necessary to undertake the simplest
of modeling efforts. In truth, the learning curve is faster than being
confronted by a complex graphical user interface that has numerous tools
with a plethora of buttons in different panes—something we have all
experienced. The commands have been purposefully structured using
descriptive and consistent terminology, making it easy to read a data
file and understand the operations it invokes. Interactive command
documentation is available as you create and edit a data file, and an
inline command construction utility is also available. Both simplify
the model construction process substantially.
On high resolution (e.g., 4K) displays, issues may occur, such as
small and offset plot items within plot windows, or the text editor
occupying only a fraction of the Edit pane.
If you are experiencing these or similar issues when using FLAC3D 6, PFC2D 6, PFC3D 6, or UDEC 7 on Windows 10, the following is recommended to automatically scale these applications via the operating system:
Now that your Itasca application DPI settings are controlled by
Windows you do not have to repeat this process should you modify your
display resolution. This process must be repeated for each
affected Itasca application.
Please note that older versions of Windows 10 may display the compatibility tab as follows, skipping a step.
Itasca has four main software development stages:
The name is somewhat misleading. Strain increment is just total strain. What it means is the increment in strain since the last time displacements were set to 0.
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