Fast Answers to Frequently-Asked Questions

Question 1 : What is ALADDIN?

Answer : ALADDIN Version 2.1 is a computational toolkit for the matrix
         and finite element analysis of engineering structures.

         In ALADDIN, finite element analsis is viewed as a specialized
         matrix computation, matrices are viewed as rectangular arrays,
         and numbers are viewed as dimensionless physical quantities.

Question 2 : What computer platforms will ALADDIN run on?

Answer : ALADDIN has been tested on a SUN SPARCstation, DECstation 5000,
         and IBM RS/6000.

         A number of users report that the program works fine under Linux,
         although we have not personally verified this platform.

         Sorry, a Windows version is not yet available. 

Question 3 : How do I unpack the aladdin.tar.gz file?

Answer : The Aladdin source code file that you will download over the


         is a compressed tar file. To uncompress the file on UNIX and
         Linux systems, type

                 gunzip aladdin2.1.tar.gz

         This will give you the file aladdin.tar. To extract the
         directories and source code files, type

                 tar xf aladdin2.1.tar

         The result will be a new directory called "aladdin2.d" containing
         the ALADDIN source code. You will need to compile the program
         before it can be run -- see question 4.

         Note : If you have downloaded ALADDIN to a PC or Macintosh, then
         this procedure won't work. Sorry. 

Question 4 : How do I compile ALADDIN?

Answer : All of the commands to compile ALADDIN are located in the file
         called "Makefile" To compile the program, simply type

                 make aladdin

         The makefile will compile all of the C source code files into
         object files, and generate a single executable program file
         called ALADDIN. You can remove the object codes by typing

                 make clean

         This will free-up some of your disk space.

Question 5 : How can I make ALADDIN read commands from the keyboard?

Answer : The command syntax is

             ALADDIN -k 

         After the ALADDIN prompt has appeared, commmands may be entered.
         For example:

             unix pompt % ALADDIN -k 
             ALADDIN >> 
             ALADDIN >> velocity = 3 cm/sec;
             ALADDIN >> time     = 3 sec;
             ALADDIN >> print "Distance traveled = ", velocity*time, "\n";
                        Distance traveled = 0.09 m
             ALADDIN >> quit;

         Don't forget to terminate each command with a semi-colon (;).
         Further information on commands may be found in the web pages.

         Because most people cannot type without making some errors, we
         recommend that keyboard input be used only for the simplest

         For the solution of engineering problems we recommend that you
         prepare an input file, and use the command syntax in the next

Question 6 : How can I make ALADDIN read commands from an input file?

Answer : The command syntax is

             ALADDIN -f name-of-input-file

Question 7 : How can I redirect ALADDIN output to a file?

Answer : The command syntax is

             ALADDIN -f name-of-input-file >! name-of-output-file

         The syntax ">!" redirects the program output to a file named
         "name-of-output-file" If "name-of-output-file" already exists,
         then the new stream of output will clobber the contents of the
         old file.

Question 8 : I've noticed a directory called "test-files.d" - what's in there?

Answer : The directory "test-files.d" contains an ensemble of input files
         for sample matrix and finite element problems.

Question 9 : How can I run ALADDIN with input from one of the files in test-files.d?

Answer : Give a command of the type:

             ALADDIN -f test-files.d/name-of-input-file

Question 10 : What does the file TestSuite do ?

Answer : TestSuite is a C-shell script that systematically runs ALADDIN for
         all of the input files in test-files.d. The input and output file
         names are matched as follows
             ALADDIN -f input-name >! output-name

         Where "name" is the remainder of the input file name beyond the
         prefix input-.

         A list of command options can be obtained by typing "TestSuite help"

Question 11 : Where can I find more examples of ALADDIN input files ?

Answer : A collection of test problems is located on the Web at 

         Also try

Question 12 : Are there any technical reports on ALADDIN?

Answer : Yes. Postscript versions of the technical report(s) may be
         downloaded from

Question 13 : Does ALADDIN have a User Manual?

Answer : Unfortunately, at this time (April 1998), no.

         Technical report TR 95-74 contains a detailed discussion on
         the design of ALADDIN, together with matrix and finite element
         examples, as of November 1995.

         Wane-Jang's Ph.D. dissertation contains a description of the
         new features in Aladdin 2 for nonlinear finite element analysis
         of highway bridge structures. We have recently (i.e., during
         the first 3 months of 1998) converted some of these examples to
         a web format and linked them to the Aladdin web site.

         During the past 18 months we have been expanding the suite of
         application problems presented on this web site. 

Question 14 : I've found a bug in the program -- how can I report it ?

Answer : Send e-mail to, and we will do our best
         to fix it ...

Question 15 : Who owns ALADDIN? Can I distribute the source code?

Answer : ALADDIN Version 2.1 is the property of Mark Austin,
         Xiaoguang Chen and Wane-Jang Lin.

         Permission is granted to use, modify, and distribute the
         software freely, subject to the conditions stated in the file
         entitled "COPYRIGHT"

Question 16 : When can I get Aladdin Version 3.0?

Answer : As of March 2000 only a few graduate students at the
         University of Maryland have access to the source code
         to Aladdin 3.0.

Developed in April 1996 by Mark Austin
Last Modified March 11, 2000
Copyright © 1996-2000, Mark Austin, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Maryland