Set Up a Dakota Study

There are two ways to create a Dakota study in the Dakota GUI.  You may import an existing Dakota study or create a new Dakota study from scratch.

Import Dakota Study

To import a Dakota study, click on the Import Dakota Study link in the settings editor view for your project:


Using the file dialog that pops up, find the Dakota study that you would like to import from your file system and click Open.  For instance, you may use one of the cantilever example studies provided with Dakota:


You should see it added to the table:


You can edit the Dakota study by clicking on the link here (or by clicking on the study in the navigator tree) and then clicking the “Open input file” link in the new settings editor view:


You should see the Dakota input file appear in your text editor.

Note that older Dakota studies may need to be refactored using the GUI’s text editor before they will work with Dakota 6.5 syntax and/or the GUI's more restrictive syntax requirements.

For instance, after importing, you will notice that several problems are reported:


You can hover over the red X's or yellow triangles to get more information.  To get this input file up to date, make the following changes (either through the Settings Editor's keyword views, or by directly editing the input file):

  • output_precision:  An integer value must be specified.  The GUI currently does not observe scientific notation.
  • steps_per_variable:  An explicit list of seven numbers must be specified for the seven variables in this study.  The GUI is not sophisticated enough to conclude that every variable has the same number of steps.
  • initial_point:  Change 2*1.0 to 2.0.  The GUI is not sophisticated enough to read on-the-fly math.  Also, three initial points must be explicitly specified (to correspond to the three variables)
  • analysis_driver:  Change "analysis_driver" to "analysis_drivers."  The GUI does not currently recognize aliases.

Your study should look something like this when you're done:


Save your changes by using File > Save.

New Dakota Study

Alternately, if you wish to create a Dakota study from scratch, click on the New Dakota Study link in the settings editor view for your project:


A dialog will appear asking you to select an existing simulation model. (Note that for now, this wizard does not support creating a Dakota study in isolation from a simulation model)


After selecting a simulation model, you will be presented with the Dakota Study Wizard:


You may use this wizard to define a Dakota study according to parameters and responses from your simulation model.  You can also create a blank study if you wish.  The controls on this wizard page are as follows:

  • Study Name – The name of your study.
  • Input File Name – The name of your input file.
  • Study Goal / Method Options – Dropdowns to help you narrow your focus on what type of Dakota study you want to perform.

After making your selections, click Next.


The Identify Dakota Variables page lets you select which Dakota variables you want in your study by selecting from a list of available simulation model parameters.  Check the checkboxes of variables you want to use, and choose the appropriate variable type for each.  When you’re finished, your page might look like this:


When you’re ready to proceed, click Next.


On the Characterize Dakota Variables page, you can define lower bounds, upper bounds, etc. for your chosen variables.  Click Next when you’re ready to proceed.


On the Response Functions page, choose which simulation model responses you want to be represented by your Dakota study.  Click Next when you’re ready to proceed.

The final page of the wizard (Specify a Dakota Interface and Scheduling Scheme) is an outdated carryover from the Sandia Analysis Workbench tool, and will be cleaned up in a later version.  Please ignore this page for the time being and click Finish.  You can define your own custom interface driver using the Analysis Driver wizard (see below).

Editing Dakota Studies

Once you have your study in the Dakota GUI, you can edit the input file using either the text editor on the right, or settings editor controls that populate for every Dakota keyword.  For instance, you may click on a top-level keyword (such as environment) and you will see the following controls populate in the settings editor:


From here, you can edit every child keyword that is available for your environment block.  For more information on the specific usage of Dakota keywords, see the Dakota reference manual.