DUNE/PDELab Course (March 8 - March 12, 2021)

Dune Course on March 8 - March 12, 2021 - Virtual Edition

With the 2020 edition of our course on Dune/PDELab being cancelled due to the pandemic, we are happy to announce an all-virtual edition for 2021.


If you have questions about this course, please write an email to dominic.kempf@iwr.uni-heidelberg.de.

Getting the course material

You will find all the uploads for this course under this URL: https://heibox.uni-heidelberg.de/d/1860f3cd05d84a20b3b1/ Some files will only be updated during the course, but this link will always stay the same.


We uploaded a detailed explanation of the schedule to YouTube. If you want a PDF of the schedule can be downloaded from above link. Beware that the times written in the schedule are German Time (UTC+1). For time zone conversion, check out the course world clock.

The general procedure for all lessons is the following:

  • Lectures will be uploaded to YouTube some days before the lab session. You can watch it whenever it fits your personal schedule and your timezone best, but we ask you to have watched all the material for a lab session before the session starts.
  • Lab sessions in contrast are synchronous: We meet at the specified date in Gather.town (see below). A lab session will consist of two parts: A Q&A part with the presenter from the recorded lecture and practical exercises that you do on your machine. If you have any questions you can approach an instructor in Gather.town and you will be in a bilateral video conference with the possibility to share your screen.

The week is divided into three parts:

  • On Monday, some fundamental skills will be reviewed and brushed up: Using Linux, C++ for Scientific Computing and the Finite Element Method.
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday we will get into the basics of Dune/PDELab. Understanding the content of these two days is the key to successful participation in the course. For this reason, we will offer each lab session twice on these days: Once for our asian participants and once for our american participants - european participants have the freedom of choice (whatever suits your biorhythm best).
  • Thursday and Friday will feature optional, advanced topics. These days are not designed for you to learn everything that is offered. Instead, think about what you need for your research and try to learn how you can achieve your goals with Dune.

Technical Requirements

There is two main technical requirements that all participants need to fulfill. You need to be able to access our Gather.town Room, which is the video conferencing system that we use for the course and you need to run the Virtual Machine that we use to do the practical exercises.

To check that all participants successfully set up these two components for the course, there will be a test meeting on March 3rd, 3pm (UTC+1). You can convert this to your timezone using this tool.

Gather.town access

Detailed information on how to access Gather.town will follow soon.

Virtual Machine Setup

A virtual machine (VM) allows you to run a different operating system (the guest OS) on your computer independent of your actual system (the host OS). We are using this approach to distribute a unified working environment across our heterogenous audience. We chose Debian 10 as the operating system of our work environment. You need to complete the following steps to set up our VM on your computer:

  • Download and install VirtualBox 6.1 according to the instructions on the website. Make sure to select the correct version of VirtualBox for your host operating system.
  • Download our image file: https://heibox.uni-heidelberg.de/f/be208766b89f4d2188cb/ Note that this file is ~3GB in compressed form. Depending on your Internet connection, this download may pose a problem. We therefore recommend:
    • Try starting this download immediately and not shortly before the course starts.
    • Make sure you are connected with the best connection available (e.g. wired over wireless)
    • If it fails, make a few more attempts.
    • If you know other participants personally, download once and then share it via e.g. a USB stick.
    • If your problem persists, write an email to dominic.kempf@iwr.uni-heidelberg.de and we try to find an individual solution.
  • Unzip the image file
  • Load the image file into VirtualBox and start the VM. To see how this is done, checkout our video explanation on YouTube.
  • The username and password inside the VM are dune and course.


The Distributed and Unified Numerics Environment (DUNE) is a software framework for the numerical solution of partial differential equations with grid-based methods. Using generic programming techniques it strives for both: high flexibility (efficiency of the programmer) and high performance (efficiency of the program). DUNE provides, among other things, a large variety of local mesh refinement techniques, a scalable parallel programming model, an ample collection of finite element methods and efficient linear solvers.

DUNE-PDELab is a powerful tool for implementing discretisations of partial-differential equations. It helps to substantially reduce the time to implement discretizations and solvers for (systems of) PDEs based on DUNE. It is not only suitable for rapid prototyping but also for building highly performant simulation software and is used by a variety of projects already.

This one week course will provide an introduction to the most important DUNE modules and especially to DUNE-PDELab. At the end the attendees will have a solid knowledge of the simulation workflow from mesh generation and implementation of finite element and finite volume methods to visualization of the results. Topics covered are the solution of stationary and time-dependent problems, as well as local adaptivity, the use of parallel computers and the solution of non-linear PDE’s and systems of PDE’s.

  • Review of C++ programming techniques
  • DUNE Grid interface
  • Grid IO (pre- and postprocessing)
  • Mesh Adaptivity
  • Parallel Computations
  • Iterative Solvers
  • Nonlinear Problems
  • Time-dependent Problems


Successful participation requires knowledge of object-oriented programming using C++ including generic programming with templates (this knowledge will be brushed up on the first day of the course). A solid background on numerical methods for the solution of PDEs is expected.

In order to take part in this virtual edition of the Dune course, participants need to ensure that they meet the following technical prerequisites:

  • Stable Internet connection throughout the entire week that allows participation in a video conference
  • A laptop/desktop computer that provides the following capabilities:
    • min. 8 GB of RAM (this is necessary to run VirtualBox and a video conferencing tool at the same time)
    • Audio equipment to participate in discussions
    • A Webcam - while not strictly needed, this makes the teaching experience more enjoyable for both sides.
  • A working installation of VirtualBox 6.1. This will be needed to have a working development environment for all participants. We will provide the virtual machine and more detailed instruction ahead of the course.

We have not come to a final conclusion on which video conferencing tool the course will be held with, but we will inform participants ahead of time about this decision.


For this year’s virtual edition, we require potential participants to apply by writing a very short letter of motivation.


The application deadline for the course is February 21, 2021.

Application Form

Please use the following application form: https://forms.gle/WgC6b5WCfwfedbmMA

We will inform participants about the approval of their application on February 22nd.

Registration Fee

This virtual edition of our Dune course is free for all participants.

Impressum  |  Haftungsausschluss  |  Datenschutzerkl√§rung  |  generated with Hugo v0.80.0