17 May 2012

Installing and using PHYSICA

When I have to install PHYSICA I am given 3 files and then some example cases. the 3 files are:
  1. physica3g.exe
  2. phy3g.bat
  3. phylic.dat this one is the licence file
According to the physica website you are given a CD with a file called pinstall.bat I was never given this, so I have to do this manually. The first step is to group these 3 files and the examples into a folder call it 'Physica' and put it in the root of the computer (i.e. for windows computers it should be in the path C:\Physica). After this we need to add some paths in the computer so it knows what to run. For Windows XP computers:
  • Step 1: Right hand click on 'My Computer' and select properties OR press the 'Start' button then click 'Control Panel' and click on 'System'
  • Step 2: There are a number of tabs on the top of 'System Properties' you will be automatically on the 'General' tab, click on the 'Advanced' tab. This will have Performance settings, User profiles settings, start up and recovery settings. You can ignore all of these as you want a button called 'Environment Variable'.
  • Step 3: Under 'System Variables' section You need to create a new variable called 'PHYKEY' so click 'New'. The Variable name will be 'PHYKEY' and the Variable Value will be the path to physica.exe so it should be 'C:\Physica'.
  • Step 4: We are not yet done with 'System Variable'. You need to edit 'Path' Variable. Select the variable and click edit (or double click path variable) Under Variable Value we need to ADD something to the end of it. Put ';C:\Physica' and click 'ok' and you are done.
  • Step 5: Testing. Run one of the test cases to check it runs. Open up the 'command prompt' located by clicking start button, click 'All programs','Accessories' then 'Command Prompt'. Back up to C:\ by typing 'cd ..' do this until it says 'C:\' then type 'cd ' then the path to one of the test cases then type 'phy3g' or if your 'phy3g.bat' is called something different type that in and it should work perfectly.

If you are getting started with Physica or your out of practise with physica you can use the Website or the website I designed for my MSc project. My one actually generates the inform file for you, it also can generate mesh and plotpar files you can use (you have to rename them as just 'inform','filename.md' and 'plotpar' though).

Plotpar files produce pretty images, although you do have to install Ghostscript and GSview to view these images, these application are free to download

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