Chicago Materials Research Center


COMSOL Multiphysics

comsol_logoMRSEC maintains a single concurrent user COMSOL Multiphysics software license for shared use on the RCC Midway2 and Midway3 clusters. We have 16 modules available:

  • AC/DC
  • RF
  • Semiconductor
  • Wave Optics
  • Structural Mechanics
  • Nonlinear Structural Materials
  • MEMS
  • Acoustics
  • CFD
  • Microfluidics
  • Electrodeposition
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • Heat Transfer
  • Particle Tracing
  • Design Module
  • LiveLink for MATLAB

Our COMSOL license is supported as a shared recharge resource. Access to COMSOL is covered under the User Facility Access Fee.

Instructions to Access COMSOL at the RCC


  1. Create an account on the RCC Midway2 or Midway3 cluster. Individual user accounts must be linked to a main PI account. Please follow the Request Account guide at the RCC.
  2. Install ThinLinc to use the COMSOL GUI. Please follow the Connecting guide at the RCC. The ThinLinc web browser client at is a convenient alternative with minimal difference in GUI responsiveness.
  3. Follow our Getting Started guide to obtain MRSEC MPML access and a BookitLab scheduler account.
  4. Contact a Manager to request access to COMSOL. Please include the name of your PI and your RCC username.


  1. Create a reservation on our Scheduler. Please reserve the length of time you need and use the full time you reserve. Since only one concurrent license is available, all users must have a reservation on the scheduler for the full amount of time that they will use COMSOL. Please be considerate of the needs of other users. Users that are no-shows, start excessively late, overstay their reservation, or book overly long reservations block access for others. These users will be warned and repeated violations may incur penalties and/or access restrictions.
  2. When your reservation begins, start a usage in BookitLab. There will be a large green “Start Usage” button at the top of your dashboard.
  3. Log into Midway2 with ThinLinc and then open a terminal window. You need to establish an interactive session on a suitable Midway2 compute node. All computations must be done on a compute node. Please do not launch COMSOL on a login node. Computations run on a login node may be terminated without warning at any time.

    For example, use sinteractive to get an exclusive computation node:

    sinteractive –exclusive

    It is now possible to run COMSOL on a GPU node with OpenGL hardware rendering. To get a GPU node use:

    sinteractive –partition=gpu2 –gres=gpu:1

  4. The default session length is 2 hours and you will be logged off after this amount of time without warning. You may request up to 36 hours of time in an interactive session by including a –time=HH:MM:SS option. For example, use the following to get an exclusive compute node for 6 hours.

    sinteractive –exclusive –time=06:00:00

  5. Load the COMSOL environment module from your compute node. Please do not run COMSOL from a login node. The current release version of COMSOL will be loaded but it may be possible to load older versions if necessary.

    module load

  6. Launch COMSOL


    If you’re on a GPU node then use:

    vglrun comsol

  7. Please see the main RCC documentation for further information on using the RCC cluster: There are simple methods for mapping drives and connecting local storage to the cluster for data transfer.
  8. For help getting started with COMSOL, please see the COMSOL Learning Center. There are extensive introductory tutorials and walkthrourghs avalable. There are also many tutorials and application examples available through the application library within COMSOL. The full documentation browser is also available.
  9. When your reservation ends, make sure you terminate COMSOL and then stop your usage in the scheduler with the red “Log Off” button displayed in your current usage.
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