Abaqus’ licensing structure is intended to be flexible enough to be appropriate for a single consultant or for a fortune 100 company. As always, with flexibility comes complexity. The purpose of this article is to unpack the options and help you choose the best configuration for where you are today. I say today, since usually it is not an issue to change to a different strategy at a later date.


The licensing is token-based just like what you find in an arcade where some games take 1 token and others may require more. I’ll break this down to tokens needed for Simulation and GUI with a middle section on the various types of tokens.


Token requirements for running a simulation follows a simple equation:


Where T is number of Tokens and N is the number of CPU cores or processing units for the run to solve on. With increasing numbers of cores the computation power increases dramatically, so your analysis will solve faster, but the gain is not quite linear. What’s more, this equation tells us that a solve with 1 CPU core takes 5 tokens while 2 cores will require 6 tokens. That’s only one more to roughly cut the solve time roughly in half! This progression is shown in the table below.


1 2 4 8 12 16 24 32 64 128


5 6 8 12 14 16 19 21 28


If you were reading closely and checked out the table things stop making sense at 12 cores since.


The actual equation is:

Image 734

There are two possible reasons for this: first is the likely one and the second my made up one. Feel free to choose your favorite (I’m sure there is a deep rooted psychological reason for your choice):

  1. Abaqus has provided a decaying token function to help balance the cost of significant parallel processing. If this wasn’t the case the 128 core job would require 132 tokens as opposed to the actual amount of 38.

  2. Abaqus is full of people who would rather solve partial differential equations than play Sudoku and the licensing guy felt left out and created this formula.

License Types

There are a variety of license types. In this section I’ll go over the current ones. In the future Advanced Abaqus Licensing article I will go into more depth. Abaqus licenses are denoted by 3 letter ‘trigrams’. Three licensing types will be discussed in this section: Conventional, Extended and Portfolio. If you are a new user of Abaqus you can simply skip to the Portfolio section, since those are the tokens that will probably make the most sense for you.

Conventional (QAP, QAT, QAE)

QAT are analysis tokens

QAE are GUI tokens

QAP is a pack of 5 QAT tokens and 1 QAE token

The QAP pack is the minimum license build to allow authoring and running of Abaqus.

Extended (QXP, QXT, QAX)

In addition to Abaqus Extended tokens allow you to run the Extended Products  (Isight, Tosca and FeSafe)

QXT are analysis tokens

QAX are GUI tokens

QXP is a pack of 10 QXT tokens and 1 QAX token

Portfolio (QPP, QPT)

Portfolio tokens are flexible because they can act as analysis licenses or GUI licenses. For analysis they behave the same as the other analysis tokens (QAT, QXT). For GUI application 4 tokens equal 1 GUI token (QAE, QAX)

QPT are analysis or GUI tokens

QPP is a pack of 5 QPT tokens and is the minimum license build to allow authoring and running of Abaqus. However, the GUI must be closed to release the 4 tokens to allow for the simulation to run.


After all that this section will be easy. Depending on your license type to run the GUI Abaqus/CAE you simply need either:

Conventional: 1 QAE

Extended: 1 QAX

Portfolio: 4 QPT


As mentioned above, in general for new Abaqus users the Portfolio tokens are the best starting point. A portfolio pack of 5 tokens lets you run the Abaqus/CAE GUI for preprocessing and postprocessing and it gives you enough tokens to run the solver with 1 CPU core. From there, additional tokens may be added to reduce solve times or enable the GUI to remain open while a solve is being executed.

Hopefully this has helped to give you a clear understanding of Abaqus’ licensing system. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you are interested in purchasing Abaqus.

Thank you.

Rob Stupplebeen



*UPDATE – New ‘Abaqus 2016 Price Calculator’ posted in the blog article below*

Abaqus 2016 Price Calculator