Chapter 2. Getting Started

Configuring the GUI with Preferences

The Dakota GUI’s main area for basic, global configurations can be found under Window > Preferences:


(On Mac, this option is located under Dakota GUI > Preferences).

After selecting Preferences, you will see the Preferences dialog.  Select "Dakota" from the list on the left.


The following preferences are configurable on this dialog:

  • Dakota executable:  The path to the Dakota executable.
    • Note:  If the GUI can't automatically detect the location of your Dakota executable, this field will be blank and need to be manually configured the first time you use the GUI.
  • Dakota documentation path:  Configure where the built-in help manual comes from.  You may either use the offline documentation shipped with the GUI, provide some other path on your filesystem, or connect to the online documentation from the Dakota website.
  • Path to Python interpreter:  The path to the Python interpreter.  Configure this if you want to use Python for your Dakota interface scripts.  If Python is already on your system path, you can leave this field blank.
  • Path to Dakota Order Input Utility:  The path to a utility shipped with Dakota for the purpose of reorganizing Dakota input files to the standard format.  See Chapter 4 for more information.
  • Suppress launch configurations:  If this option is checked, Dakota GUI will hide launch configuration types unrelated to running Dakota.  See Chapter 5 for more information about launch configurations.

A secondary preferences category you may want to configure is “Dakota Plotting” (directly below "Dakota").


Plotting Library:  Choose which underlying plotting library the Dakota GUI uses for visualization.  Today, “plotly.js (SWT Browser)” and “plotly.js (Swing Browser)” are the only two options, but the Dakota team plans to add more varied plotting library support in the future.  If you don't know which one of these two to pick, "plotly.js (SWT Browser)" is the recommended default.  See Chapters 7 and 8 for more information about plotting.

Creating a New Dakota Project:  Welcome Screen Options

Generally, the first thing you will want to do in the GUI is create a project (see Chapter 1 if you don’t know what a project is).

There are a few different methods available for creating a new project:

  • If you’re on the Welcome screen (select Help > Welcome to bring the Welcome screen back if you closed it), many of the options provided here will auto-create new projects for you.  Try selecting “Import Dakota study from local filesystem” or “Search the Dakota examples repository.”  See Chapter 3 for more information about these options.
  • The Welcome screen also provides a “Create new Dakota project” option, which launches the New Dakota Project wizard.
  • You may also wish to launch the New Dakota Project wizard manually by going to File > New > Project, then selecting Dakota > Dakota Project from the available options:

Creating a New Dakota Project:  The New Dakota Project Wizard

The New Dakota Project wizard only has two pages:


Put the name of your new project in the “Project name” field and click Next.


By default, a Dakota project comes with three folders to help you get started with organizing your files – “drivers,” “simulators,” and “studies.” (This mimics the organization of Dakota GUI projects in releases prior to 6.8).  These folders are strictly optional, and you can decide to include them or not by selecting “Yes, create these folders for me” or “No, create a blank project.”

Finally, click Finish to create the new Dakota project.  At this time, you should see your new project appear in the project navigator view.