Using Renderfarm with Ladybug Tools

From TOI-Pedia

There are few prerequisites if you want to use Ladybug Tools with modeFRONTIER on the BK Renderfarm.

Install the same applications

The BK Renderfarm supports both new and legacy Ladybug Tools. The list of applications is a bit different depending on the version Ladybug Tools you use with modeFRONTIER. Below is a list of applications for both versions of Ladybug Tools. To prevent compatibility problems it is advised to install the same versions of applications on your own device.

New Ladybug Tools

  • ModeFRONTIER: 2020R3
  • Rhino 6 (release: SR 33 + Grasshopper 1.0.0007: 8 December 2020)
  • Ladybug Tools 1.1.0
  • Openstudio: 3.1.0
  • EnergyPlus: 9.4.0
  • Radiance: 5.3

Legacy Ladybug Tools

  • ModeFRONTIER: 2020R3
  • Rhino 6 (release: SR 33 + Grasshopper 1.0.0007: 8 December 2020)
  • Ladybug 0.0.68 or 0.0.69
  • Honeybee 0.0.65 or 0.0.66
  • Openstudio: 2.9.1
  • EnergyPlus: 9.2.0
  • Daysim: 4.0.0.0
  • Radiance: 5.3
  • Therm: 7.6.01

Do not use other GH Components and User Objects other than from Ladybug Tools (both new and legacy). Other add-ons for GH are not installed on the render farm and the optimisation will likely fail if your GH-file contains components from other add-ons.

Grasshopper myNODE

With the release of modeFRONTIER 2020R3 support for Grasshopper has been integrated and installation of the Grasshopper myNODE add-on is not necessarily needed. Grasshopper myNODE add-on is only needed if you have an old modeFRONTIER project file created with this Grasshopper myNODE. To prevent a possible breakdown of your old modeFRONTIER file the render farm supports the following version of the Grasshopper myNODE:

  • grasshopper.myn (2 August 2019)

Prepare your Grasshopper file

To prevent that some Ladybug and/or Honeybee components start to run with every change lock Grasshopper. In Grasshopper go to menu Solution » Disable Solver or RMB on the canvas and choose Lock Solver. A lock will appear on the canvas.

Change defaultFolder_
Ladybug and Honeybee uses C:\ladybug as default. This location is not available on the render farm and should be changed to a location which is accessible by you and the render farm. Therefore defaultFolder_ should be the mapped network drive R:\your_netid\ladybug\. Replace your_netid with your actual NetID without suffix.

When using 2 or more (max. 4) Concurrent Design Evaluations a Python component is needed to prevent files created by one render node to be overwritten by another render node. Files created by certain Ladybug and/or Honeybee components are temporary files and with every new evaluation previous saved files by those components are overwritten.[1]

Add a GhPython Script component to the canvas.

Maths » Script » GhPython Script

Optionally, zoom into the component until you see white bullets with minus signs. Remove the inputs x and y and remove the output out by clicking on the minus sign. Do not remove output a.
GhPython Script-computername.png

Double-click on the component name to open the script editor. Remove the existing code and add the following two lines of code. Notice that a in the script on line 2 is the same as output a of the Python component. Output a is the name of the computer where Grasshopper is opened and is different on each computer.

  1. import socket
  2. a=socket.gethostname()

Click OK to close the editor and to save the changes.

Change _workingDir_

Most, if not all, Ladybug Tools with input _workingDir_ have default setting C:\ladybug and this has to be changed into R:\your_netid\ladybug\render_node where your_netid is your actual NetID and render_node is the actual computer name of one of the four render nodes of the render farm.

Concatenate with backslash "\" as separator

These bits of text needs to be concatenated to one string and separated with a backslash "\".

Sets » Text » Concatenate and RMB on the component to add a backslash "\" without quotes as a separator.

Connect output R with input _workingDir of the Ladybug or Honeybee component you are using. Optionally, check the output of R with a panel.

Test run on your own computer

A test run needs to be made with modeFRONTIER on your own device while connected to the R-drive to see if files are not accidentally written to your own device. To be sure empty or rename folder C:\ladybug on your own device.

The R-drive is only accessible from TU campus network or use VPN if you are working at home

  • Windows: Map Network Drive \\renderfarm.bk.tudelft.nl\public and login with your NetID suffixed by @tudelft.net (.net not .nl)
  • macOS: Connect to server smb://renderfarm.bk.tudelft.nl/public and login with your NetID.

Login to Remote Desktop

If everything seems fine after a successful test run on your own device, then users with permission can login with their NetID on remote computer SRV273. Access to SRV273 can be requested by sending an e-mail to SID-ADHOK@tudelft.nl with the NetID that will be used to login.

To access SRV273 Citrix Workspace needs to be installed, which can be downloaded from https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ or go to https://weblogin.tudelft.nl

After login at Citrix Workspace or https://weblogin.tudelft.nl click on the + sign on the left of the window and add the Remote Desktop Connection app. Start this app and login with your NetID on remote computer SRV273.

After login you might notice that none of the listed applications is installed, except for modeFRONTIER (with Grasshopper myNODE). That is on purpose and is not needed to run optimisations on the render farm.

Open modeFRONTIER and check your settings and change it to your needed settings. If all is set, click Run Project to start your optimisation. You can Disconnect from the remote desktop and login later to see the progress made.

Update Grasshopper myNODE

All new users (after February 2020) on SRV273 do not need to update grasshopper.myn as it will be automatically installed at first time login. Current users (before February 2020) need to remove the old grasshopper.myn and install the new grasshopper.myn which is available in D:\SETUP on SRV273

Sign out or Disconnect from Remote Desktop

Click Start to Sign out

Users not using modeFRONTIER (running any optimisations) on SRV273 are urged to Sign out and not Disconnect.

Monthly Windows Updates

Be aware that Windows security updates are performed every second Tuesday of the month and SRV273 will restart on Thursday/Friday after the update. You might want to add reminders to your calendar.

Notes

  1. Is this true?
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