Creeping along: A February Update

Fun fact, just to make my main image for this blog justified: The Magic School Bus reboot on Netflix has just recently been assigned its new Ms. Frizzle: Kate McKinnon. That will no doubt be loads of fun. Don’t worry, she won’t be the original Frizz but her younger sister.


Getting to the point, next week I’ll be in Atlanta. I’ll be visiting friends over the holiday weekend. Then I’ll catch up with my old adviser Dr. Britney Schmidt on Tuesday to discuss a few things pertaining my old research. Then Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be at the Outer Planetary Assesment Group (OPAG) meeting. This year it is conveniently held in Atlanta. Friday I’ll visit my mom and sister, but before that I’ll be meeting with Zibi to discuss my work so far. That meeting is set for Wednesday at 5PM, so lets see what I have to talk about.


I don’t remember where we left off, but I now understand the basics of compiling a code. I first tried to convert all my source files (.f) to (.o). Then I compile them all together in one command. Unfortunately, I came across an issue on two of the files. After talking with Catherine, we determined that the codes have carriage returns that seem to be messing up the code. These are some type of hidden characters that are inserted into the code when working between OS platforms. These don’t show up in the text file or in the xcode window view.  Luckily there is a view, which I have now forgotten the actual name and how to enter it. But its some older “v” platform that identified they were there.

After trying to troubleshoot it for a few days, Zibi offered me with a simple line command that removed them. It worked, and appeared to leave the main code the same. When I tried to convert the source files, the result was different, but still flawed. I now get a series of warnings for a file called sparse.f. However, it appears to still convert the file. Then the other file I had issue with, tekton.f, had a more serious problem that required me to comment out an entire subroutine. It appeared merely to return and record the time of each cycle, but it may play a bigger role that I don’t really understand. That said, it allowed the file to convert to “.o”.


The next step did not go smoothly. The result of the attempted compilation was a series of what I interpret to be some type of error, though not explicitly labeled as such. It appears to be a series of variable inputs that are undefined, assuming I am remembering this particular response correctly. The reason behind it seems a little vague.


From what I hear, this code doesn’t work well with Macs it would seem. This is a small comfort. At least it isn’t something I am doing. It has taken me longer than I would like to understand the compilation process, but I have made it that far. Now I have to tackle what appears to be a platform issue. Zibi and I will take a look at this on Wednesday. In the mean time I tried to repeat the process on  different platforms.

I tried it first on my windows PC. The good news is that I successfully installed and repeated this process on my PC. The result was the same though. The next step is/was trying Linux. I know there is a process of installing it on Mac, but I don’t know how to do that without erasing what is already there. If there is a way to have both, that would be beneficial to know. That being said, I did what I could.


In the informal Python course Denis is teaching, he has introduced us to a virtual machine called Virtual Box. I was able to create a virtual machine with a copy of Linux that I was able to find. I used the Ubuntu OS because it seemed to be ubiquitous and the easiest to find. If I ought to use a different one, let me know. I haven’t had a chance to try out the command prompt on this system yet. I am hoping to do it before my meeting with Zibi next week.


I am going to the Titan through time (IV) meeting in April with Alyssa, and I am submitting an abstract. I just got back edits and will finalize that today. One mistake I made was forgetting references. Hopefully they won’t need too much checking by Catherine (do you want to see it before I send it?). I also will submit my a request for a travel grant. Regarding content to present, Zibi recently told me the following, “Given the timing of getting Tekton working, it might be good to have enough to present that doesn’t depend on simulation results.” I can formulate some ideas, but obviously we’ll (Catherine and I) will need to discuss it more.


One Reply to “Creeping along: A February Update”

  1. The text editor we used was ‘vi’: It’s the original UNIX text editor.

    Also, I think the virtual box is the way to go. Otherwise, we’d have to set up a dual boot, which is trickier. Unless you’re a mega hacker, I don’t know of any preference for one type of Linux over another.

    Some issues that we could work on that don’t involve running Tekton include:
    -Learning how to process the topography data of Titan’s craters (SARTopo and DTMs).
    -Extrapolating results from work already done on Ganymede and other icy satellites (e.g., Dombard and McKinnon, 2006).


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