Program Installation and Update

PARTICLE has been designed to run on all major computer operating systems (Linux, Mac OS and MS Windows).  The program requires Python language support and an Internet connection for its installation, upgrade and execution.  A system administrator's status is required for the program installation and upgrade, because the process writes to restricted directories.  Certified installation packages are now available for

System Version
Linux Fedora 11
Ubuntu 10-12
CentOS 5-6
Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6)
Mavericks (10.9)
Windows Windows XP
Windows Vista

If you require customized program installation or performance optimization, please contact the technical support at

Installation on Linux & Mac OS

Download an appropriate installer for your computer OS from the list above (e.g., "Fedora_11.tar" for Red Hat FC11) to a temporary directory.  Then, start an X-window, move into that directory and unpack the archive by the command:

$ tar pxfz Fedora_11.tar

It will create a sub-directory named "PARTICLE.install/", containing the installation program "install" and system files.  Start the installer window by

$ cd PARTICLE.install
$ ./install

Then the complete installation process will normally take less than one minute:

  1. Set the installation directory (a.k.a. "home") of PARTICLE from the Home button (e.g., "/usr/local/PARTICLE");
  2. Check the user agreement, after which the Install button becomes active;
  3. Start the installation by activating the Install button.

Upon completion, a shell-script named "p" will be created at the program home, via which PARTICLE can be launched, e.g.,

$ /usr/local/PARTICLE/p &

Python, by default, should have been pre-installed on most Linux and Mac OSX systems.  Note that Python 2.6 or higher is recommended for full compatibility.  In case of need, please consult the official Python website for its installation.

Installation on Windows PC

Download and unzip the PARTICLE installation package to a local folder, e.g., "C:\Program Files\PARTICLE\", which contains the executable "particle.exe" and some system files.  Then, set up Python and the environment variable on your PC as follows:

  1. Download "Python Windows Installer" from the official Python website;
  2. Install Python by accepting all the default setup parameters;
  3. To define the environment variable "PARTICLE_HOME", mouse right-click on My Computer, choose Properties;
  4. Inside the Advanced tab, activate the Environment Variable button;
  5. In the System Variables group, click New to add "PARTICLE_HOME" as the variable and "C:\Program Files\PARTICLE" (or your choice of the installation location) as the value;
  6. Press OK to accept the setup, close all windows and restart your computer.

After reboot, link the executable "C:\Program Files\PARTICLE\particle.exe" to a desktop icon of your preference.  Now the program is ready to launch.

User Registration

Upon a successful initial installation, please register online to set up an account with your user profile and contact information.  After the registration, a distinct program ID will be delivered to you via E-mail.  The assigned program ID will be required for program updates and technical support.

Program Update

As PARTICLE continues to enhance its functionality, program upgrades will be released periodically.  When an upgrade becomes available, a registered user will be informed at the start of the program.  Once notified, the user should ask the computer administrator for help to install the upgrade (because it requires writing permission to the installation directory).  The administrator should then

  1. Make sure that all running PARTICLE programs are properly terminated;
  2. Start the program anew to receive the same notification, then go to CP::MenuBar::System::Setup;
  3. In the System Update group, enter the assigned program ID (case sensitive) and activate the Update button;
  4. Normally it will take just a few seconds to download and install the update automatically.  Upon successful completion (indicated by a pop-up message), exit the current program;
  5. The updated code initially resides in the folder "PARTICLE/update/" (not to overwrite the existing program).  You can backup or rename the older version before starting the new program.  On MS Windows, the updated code needs to be manually moved to "PARTICLE/".  On Linux and Mac OS, the front-end script "PARTICLE/p" automatically loads the updated program.

In case that you decide to postpone the program update, a reminder will be displayed at the start of PARTICLE next time.  It is highly recommended to install an update as soon as you receive the notice, so that new program features will become available for your work.  Program upgrades are carefully planned by the I.A.N. team to maintain backward compatibility.

Hardware Specification

The minimal computer requirements to run the PARTICLE program are: 64-bit chipset, 4GB RAM, and an OpenGL enabled graphics card (512MB memory).  In addition, a three-button (left, middle & right, or the equivalent) computer mouse is required for proper interactions with the program GUI.  A large-screen display (alternatively, dual monitors, or monitor-projector combination) will enhance the user experience and work productivity.

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