In this step, you get to know the most important API functions of preCICE: initialize, advance, and finalize.
Updated 23 Nov 23

As a first preparation step, you need to include the preCICE library headers. In C++, you need to include the file precice.hpp. The handle to the preCICE API is the class precice::Participant. Its constructor requires the participant’s name, the preCICE configuration file’s name and the rank and size of the current thread. Once the basic preCICE interface is set up, we can steer the behaviour of preCICE. For that we need the following functions:

Participant( String participantName, String configurationFileName, int rank, int size );
void initialize();
void advance ( double computedTimeStepSize );
void finalize();

What do they do?

  • initialize establishes communication channels and sets up data structures of preCICE.
  • advance needs to be called after the computation of every time step to advance the coupling. As an argument, you have to pass the solver’s last time step size (dt). Additionally, it maps coupling data between the coupling meshes, it communicates coupling data between the coupled participants, and it accelerates coupling data. One could say the complete coupling happens within this single function.
  • finalize frees the preCICE data structures and closes communication channels.

The following function allows us to query the maximum allowed time step size from preCICE:

double getMaxTimeStepSize();

But let’s ignore the details of time step sizes for the moment. This will be the topic of Step 5. We can now extend the code of our fluid solver:

#include <precice/precice.hpp>

turnOnSolver(); //e.g. setup and partition mesh

precice::Participant precice("FluidSolver","precice-config.xml",rank,size); // constructor

double solverDt; // solver time step size
double preciceDt; // maximum precice time step size
double dt; // actual time step size

while (not simulationDone()){ // time loop
  preciceDt = getMaxTimeStepSize();
  solverDt = beginTimeStep(); // e.g. compute adaptive dt
  dt = min(preciceDt, solverDt); // more about this in Step 5
  endTimeStep(); // e.g. update variables, increment time
precice.finalize(); // frees data structures and closes communication channels