Running Dakota Tests

Dakota’s test suite primarily consists of system-level regression tests supplemented with a growing number of unit and system-level interfacing and workflow tests.

Basic Smoke Tests

Verify Dakota executes:

$DAK_BUILD/src/dakota -version

Dakota version 6.16+ (stable) released Oct 31 2022.
Repository revision 56f2a6a (2022-10-29) built Oct 31 2022 16:31:22.

Run a basic study as described in Dakota Beginner’s Tutorial.

Unit Tests

Dakota unit tests should pass on most platforms. To run them:


ctest -L Unit

# Or for concurrent test execution:
# ctest -j 4 -L Unit

Regression Tests

Most of Dakota regression tests should pass when run in the recommended RHEL 7 development environment. They commonly produce numerical differences (reported as DIFF) when run on other platforms.

Recommended minimal test suite:


# test suite that should PASS, even for non-development, but supported hosts (e.g. MS Windows)
ctest -j 4 -L AcceptanceTest


Dakota’s ctest reports a test producing a DIFF as a FAILure. To avoid executing tests that are known to sporadically DIFF (e.g. a test exercising a stochastic algorithm), ctest’s exclude feature can be used to avoid the frustration of needing to perform further diagnostics to determine whether a test FAIL is indeed genuine.

CTest labels or regular expressions can be used to select subsets of tests to run. Here are some examples, which overlap each other:

# "pre-commit" set of fast-running tests that will PASS on typical developer's local host
ctest -j 4 -L FastTest -LE Diff

# run all Dakota tests active in this build (should PASS or DIFF)
# (can also do at top-level $DAK_BUILD to run all unit and regression tests)
ctest -j 4

# run all tests excluding those known to DIFF on RHEL 7:
ctest -j 4 -LE Diff

# Show all available ctest labels
ctest  --print-labels

# Show all relevant tests but do not run; can be used with various labels (-L) or regular expressions (-R)
ctest -N -R dakota_

Sub-tests: Each Dakota CTest regression test corresponds to a file test/dakota_*.in and represents a coarse level of testing in that it may be comprised of multiple variations of a base test. If any of these variations report DIFF or FAIL, the entire CTest test reports a FAIL. To obtain more granular test information, a dakota_diffs.out summary can be generated via:

# Unix only: generate difference files dakota_diffs.out, dakota_pdiffs.out
make dakota-diffs

The resulting dakota_[p]diffs.out file can then be inspected to ascertain which test variation(s) failed, e.g.:
PASS test 0
PASS test 1
FAIL test 2 (*** new ***)
FAIL test 3 (*** new ***)

A successful build should include PASS and DIFF, with associated small numerical differences. If these files contain DIFF with large aberrations, or FAIL, there may be an issue with the build.

If any credible test differences are found, a starting point for determing the cause of failure involves the following steps:

# Determine which test variation(s) is (are) failing by invoking

make dakota-diffs from within the test subdirectory. Examine the resulting dakota_[p]diffs.out file to see which failures are new.

# Change into the subdirectory corresponding to the failing test, e.g.,

cd dakota_experiment_read.

# Extract the test variation that is failing using the

dakota_test.perl utility, e.g. for test #3 of dakota_experiment_read:

cd $DAK_BUILD/test/dakota_experiment_read
../dakota_test.perl --extract --file-extract 3

# The sub-test will be extracted to Run this sub-test and inspect the console output and/or log files for details explaining why the test did not pass.:

../../src/dakota -input


Note that documentation for using the dakota_test.perl script can be obtained by invoking it with either --help (for brief help) or --man.