General

How is it that Sandia can release government software as open source?

Sandia is a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) national laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC. The authority to release open source software resides with the DOE, and Dakota has gone through a series of copyright assertion and classification approvals to allow release to the general public. Important proponents for the open source release of Sandia software are the DOE's Accelerated Strategic Computing (ASC) Program Office and the DOE's Office of Science.

Why are you releasing Dakota as open source?

To foster collaborations and streamline the licensing process. Of particular note is the fact that an export control classification of "publicly available" allows us to work effectively with universities. For more on some of the motivations behind open source software in general, The Cathedral and the Bazaar is interesting reading.

How is Dakota used?

To use Dakota for a particular application, an interface between Dakota and your simulation code must be developed. For an overview see Section 1.3 of the User's Manual. The Interfacing section of the FAQ may also prove helpful. Once the simulation interface has been developed, switching between Dakota's many iterative methods usually requires only minimal modifications to the Dakota input file. Refer to Chapter 2 in the User's Manual for discussion of example input files.

What is Dakota?

Dakota is a general-purpose software toolkit for performing systems analysis and design on high performance computers. Dakota provides algorithms for design optimization, uncertainty quantification, parameter estimation, design of experiments, and sensitivity analysis, as well as a range of parallel computing and simulation interfacing services.

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