COMSOL Licenses for the Great Lakes Cluster

NOTE: COMSOL licenses from the College of Engineering COMSOL Research License Cost-Sharing Program cannot be used on any ARC cluster.

COMSOL is a very expensive package to license, and there are only a few researchers who need to use it.  We have two licenses for COMSOL version 6.0; these are for the base COMSOL only. We will review usage on an annual basis, and, if usage is deemed sufficient, we will continue to renew on a year to year basis. If a research group needs an additional module, then we offer the following cost-sharing plan.

  • Year 1: license for desired module(s) purchased by lab
  • Year 2: ARC will pay for renewal
  • Year 3: ARC will pay for renewal
  • Year 4+: ARC will evaluate usage & renew, at its discretion, if usage is deemed sufficiently high and/or diverse

Once a lab has purchased a license for a module, ARC will install the licenses and begin monitoring usage. COMSOL licenses expire June 30, and we will review usage at the beginning of June for those that do not fall under automatic eligibility.

We reserve the right to remove older versions of COMSOL from Great Lakes once licenses have expired.

For a given scientist or research group, we reserve the right to limit the total number of modules for which we will enter into a cost-sharing agreement.

Licenses (base package as well as modules) are shared amongst all users of the cluster. Any group that requires ongoing use of COMSOL that simultaneously occupies all available licenses for the base COMSOL Multiphysics and results in long wait times for other users will be asked to either reduce usage or purchase license(s) for additional seats commensurate with their needs. If additional seats of the base COMSOL package become necessary, ARC will cost-share with the research group, in the same manner as we do for modules, for up to two additional seats. If a lab must purchase licenses for more than two new seats, they will be responsible for both the initial purchase price as well as ongoing subscription costs for those supplemental seats, for as long as they have need.

ARC will follow the same cost-sharing plan for additional seats of the base COMSOL license as is described above for COMSOL modules.

As of April 10, 2023, we have licenses for the following modules and the number of concurrent users (Licenses) as shown,

Table 1. ARC COMSOL Licenses
Module Year purchased Count License specifications
COMSOL Multiphysics 2017 (1), 2020 (1) 2 comsol@slurmdb:1
CAD Import 2017 2 (not required)
Optimization 2017 1 comsol-optimization@slurmdb:1
RF 2017 1 comsol-rf@slurmdb:1
AC/DC 2020 1 comsol-acdc@slurmdb:1
Structural Mechanics 2020 1 comsol-structural-mechanics@slurmdb:1
LiveLink for MATLAB 2021 2 (not required)
Battery Design 2021 1 comsol-battery@slurmdb:1
CFD 2022 1 comsol-cfd@slurmdb:1
Heat Transfer 2022 1 comsol-heat-transfer@slurmdb:1

If you have questions about licensing COMSOL, please contact and we will be happy to provide additional information, discuss details, or initiate purchase of COMSOL modules.

Using COMSOL on Great Lakes

Because we only have limited quantities of COMSOL licenses and they are a shared resource, we must use license tracking via Slurm so that you can be sure that a license will be available for you when your batch job starts.  Therefore, you must request licenses in your Slurm job script. This is done with the --licenses option.  Previously, it was only necessary to request a license for the COMSOL base module (comsol@slurmdb:1).  However, since we have fewer licenses for some modules (1) than we have seats for the base COMSOL package (2), we have begun also requiring that users request a license as part of their Slurm job script for required modules as well.  If there is only a single license for a module, as indicated in Table 1 above, please use the license specification shown when requesting resources for a Slurm job.  For example, to request a license for the COMSOL base package as well as one license for the Structural Mechanics module, please include the following in your job script:

#SBATCH --licenses=comsol@slurmdb:1
#SBATCH --licenses=comsol-structural-mechanics@slurmdb:1

You may, alternatively, include multiple licenses within a single #SBATCH command with each license separated by a comma (no spaces) as follows:

#SBATCH --licenses=comsol@slurmdb:1,comsol-structural-mechanics@slurmdb:1

Please remember to use these license commands within all of your COMSOL jobs.  Though your job may start without the license specifications, it will not guarantee that a license will be available for all needed modules.  And if licenses for those modules are available for you, the users who follow you will depend on you to accurately reserve those licenses in Slurm so that their jobs will be properly held until a license is available for all of the modules that they need.

In addition to requesting the licenses as shown above, you must also load the COMSOL module to make it available for your job.  After all #SBATCH lines, use the module load command as follows:

module load comsol

If you have any questions about using COMSOL on ARC resources, please contact