Updated 2021-05-17

The Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (OpenSees)


  • OpenSees is a software framework for simulating the seismic response of structural and geotechnical systems.
  • The goal of Opensees development is to improve the modeling and computational simulation in earthquake engineering
  • The software has advanced capabilities for modeling and analyzing the nonlinear response of systems using a wide range of material models, elements, and solution algorithms
    • Modeling: OpenSees provides beam-column and continuum elements for structureal and geotechnical models, and contains a wide range of uniaxial materials and section models for beam-columns
    • Analysis: OpenSees provides nonlinear static and dynamic methods, equation solvers, and methods for handling constraints.

Running OpenSees

  • Prior to loading the OpenSees module, you will also need the Intel 17.0 compiler: module load intel/17.0 opensees/3.0.3
  • Example TCL scripts can be located at ${OPENSEESROOT}/OpenSees/EXAMPLES/.


Any examples that you wish to utilize should be copied to your user directories; for example, type
cp -r ${OPENSEESROOT}/OpenSees/EXAMPLES/Truss.tcl ~/data

  • Running an OpenSees script is as simple as typing OpenSees MyScript.tcl


The current build of OpenSees available through the modules does not support MPI

Example of How to Use OpenSees

  • The following example highlights a basic example for running an interactive OpenSees session on inferno:
qsub -I -X -q inferno -l nodes=1:ppn=1,mem=1gb,walltime=5:00
module load intel/17.0 opensees/3.0.3
cp -r ${OPENSEESROOT}/OpenSees/EXAMPLES/Truss.tcl ~/data
cd data/
OpenSees Truss.tcl
  • If successful, the following output should be displayed on the screen:
         OpenSees -- Open System For Earthquake Engineering Simulation
                 Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center
                        Version 3.0.3 32-Bit

      (c) Copyright 1999-2016 The Regents of the University of California
                              All Rights Reserved
  (Copyright and Disclaimer @ http://www.berkeley.edu/OpenSees/copyright.html)

node 4 displacement:              0.53009277713228375450            -0.17789363846931777191

 Node: 4
    Coordinates  : 72 96
    Disps: 0.530093 -0.177894
    Velocities   : 0 0
     unbalanced Load: 100 -50
    ID : 0 1

Element: 1 type: Truss  iNode: 1 jNode: 4 Area: 10 Mass/Length: 0 cMass: 0
     strain: 0.00146451 axial load: 43.9352
     unbalanced load: -26.3611 -35.1482 26.3611 35.1482
Element: 2 type: Truss  iNode: 2 jNode: 4 Area: 5 Mass/Length: 0 cMass: 0
     strain: -0.00383642 axial load: -57.5463
     unbalanced load: -34.5278 46.0371 34.5278 -46.0371
Element: 3 type: Truss  iNode: 3 jNode: 4 Area: 5 Mass/Length: 0 cMass: 0
     strain: -0.00368743 axial load: -55.3114
     unbalanced load: -39.1111 39.1111 39.1111 -39.1111

Further Reading