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Performance Tips

VisualAnalysis algorithms are fast by design. Your computer can execute billions of instructions per second. Most VisualAnalysis models you create will analyze in less than 2 minutes and produce reasonable reports. However, just like with any tool, you can get in over your head and become a slave to the machine, waiting literally HOURS for things to process. Please do not let this happen to you.

Most VisualAnalysis customer models contain far less than 10,000 nodes and 150 load combinations. If you model might approach either of these values, then you should really think about performance long before you start modeling.

Divide & Conquer

Think about what you want to learn from your model, then model only the essential components. If you can split your structure along a line of symmetry, or at an expansion joint, or otherwise, it might save many hours. Working with a few smaller models can be significantly faster than working with one gigantic model. Processing time increases on the order of N^3, where N is the number of nodes in your model.

KISS Modeling

You have likely heard the phrase: "Keep it simple, stupid." When modeling your structure think first, sketch later. Start with the fewest number of elements to accurately model the geometry and boundary conditions, especially with plate elements. Then refine from there, as needed.

Prune Load Cases & Combinations

Before you add 10,000 loads in 35 load cases with 100 load combinations, check to see that your model is stable under self-weight and then proceed. If you are using automatic Building Code combinations, you might end up with many "redundant" load combinations, ones that you know will not control. The computer program cannot make this judgment and blindly assumes any one of them could control. It pays big dividends to get rid of extraneous combinations, not just in analysis and design time, but also in report size! You can perform this pruning in the Load Case Manager, on the Combinations tab.

Performance vs. Accuracy Settings

With numerical solutions, answer are always approximate and oftentimes calculated at a number of discrete points. You can reduce the number of places where this happens, balancing between performance and accuracy. VisualAnalysis provides an easy place to manage these settings: Analyze | Performance vs. Accuracy.

See also: Analysis Performance