Setting up Vensim compiled simulation on Windows

If you don’t use Vensim DSS, you’ll find this post rather boring and useless. If you do, prepare for heart-pounding acceleration of your big model runs:

  • Get Vensim DSS.
  • Get a C compiler. Most flavors of Microsoft compilers are compatible; MS Visual C++ 2010 Express is a good choice (and free). You could probably use gcc, but I’ve never set it up. I’ve heard reports of issues with 2005 and 2008 versions, so it may be worth your while to upgrade.
  • Install Vensim, if you haven’t already, being sure to check the Install external function and compiled simulation support box.
  • Launch the program and go to Tools>Options…>Startup and set the Compiled simulation path to C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersVensimcomp32 (WinXP) or C:UsersPublicVensimcomp32 (Vista/7).
    • Check your mdl.bat in the location above to be sure that it points to the right compiler. This is a simple matter of checking to be sure that all options are commented out with “REM ” statements, except the one you’re using, for example:
  • Move to the Advanced tab and set the compilation options to Query or Compile (you may want to skip this for normal Simulation, and just do it for Optimization and Sensitivity, where speed really counts).

This is well worth the hassle if you’re working with a large model in SyntheSim or doing a lot of simulations for sensitivity analysis and optimization. The speedup is typically 4-5x.

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