PyLith Tutorial

UC Davis - Alumni Center

Announcement for the 2016 PyLith Modeling Tutorial

Friday, June 17 - Sunday June 19 

UC Davis

This  workshop will focus on providing training in the use of the CIG PyLith software for quasi-static modeling of crustal deformation, with an emphasis on interseismic, coseismic, and postseismic deformation. The training will also include instruction in CUBIT/Trelis for creating finite-element meshes as input for PyLith and visualizing PyLith output using Paraview. 

This three day  workshop will be held Friday, June 17 - Sunday June 19 on the campus of UC Davis prior to the plenary meeting CIG '16.


  • Brad Aagaard (USGS)
  • Charles Williams (GNS Science)
  • Matthew Knepley (Rice University)

Workshop Information


  1. Install PyLith, ParaView and CUBIT/Trelis. See Software Requirements below for more information.
  2. Read the software manuals.
  3. View last year's tutorial videos and work through the examples.
  4. Prepare a small 2-D model of something you wish to play with during the workshop. This is a great way to get help on your research problem.


Tutorial slides are posted on the PyLith Wiki (videos of the presentations will be posted here too).

About 50% of the time will be devoted to tutorial lectures with instructors providing background information and running examples. The other 50% of the time will be devoted to "tinker time" during which participants can run the examples at their own pace, develop their own simulations, and get help from the instructors.

Day 1: Friday June 17, 2016

7:15 Escorted Walk to Alumni Center. Meet at Regan Main (courtyard)
8:00am-8:15am Introduction (Brad Aagaard)
8:15am-9:15am Overview of PyLith (Brad Aagaard)
9:15am-10:30am 2-D Subduction Zone Examples (Brad Aagaard)
10:30am-12:00pm Tinker Time
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-3:00pm Green's Function Examples (Charles Williams)
3:00pm-5:00pm Tinker Time

Day 2: Saturday June 18, 2016

8:00am-9:15am Debugging PyLith (Brad Aagaard)
9:15am-10:30am Gravity and Initial Stresses Examples (Charles Williams)
10:30am-12:00pm Tinker Time
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-3:00pm Fault Friction Examples (Brad Aagaard)
3:00pm-5:00pm Tinker Time

Day 3: Sunday June 19, 2016

8:00am-9:00am Meshing Complex Geometry (Charles Williams)
9:00am-10:00am PETSc Solver Settings (Matt Knepley)
10:30am-12:00pm Tinker Time
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm-5:00pm Tinker Time

Software Requirements

All participants should download and install PyLith, CUBIT/Trelis, and ParaView on your computer before the workshop. See workflow diagram for a general description of the typical workflow used in numerical modeling of crustal dynamics
  • PyLith - static, quasi-static, and dynamic crustal deformation

    Binary packages and the PyLith manual are available on the PyLith webpage. The manual has a troubleshooting section, and there are links to the cig-short mailing list where users can get assistance. We will be releasing PyLith v2.2.0 shortly before the workshop. We strongly recommend getting familiar with PyLith v2.1.0 as there will be very little difference between v2.1.0 and v2.2.0.

  • CUBIT/Trelis - finite-element meshing

    csimsoft has created their own version of CUBIT, called Trelis. Sandia National Laboratories continues to provide CUBIT releases to US government agencies.

    Users can download a 30-day free trial version of Trelis from csimsoft. Registering for the free trial version can take several hours to a day before you can download the software. We will be using the CUBIT 15.1 and Trelis 16.0.2 for the tutorials.

  • ParaView - visualization

    ParaView is a GUI visualization tool discussed in the PyLith examples. Binaries are available for a wide variety of platforms on the ParaView website. Click on Download. Use version 5.0.1.


Please registered for this tutorial through the CIG '16 registration web page.

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