Release notes v1.8#

We are pleased to announce the release of OpenQuake 1.8. This is a major release and contains numerous improvements with respect to OpenQuake 1.7.

New features of the OpenQuake Engine, version 1.8#

  1. The most important feature is that the calculators based on PostgreSQL are all gone. There is now no distinction between the oq-lite calculators and the engine calculators: they are all the same. All the calculators use an HDF5 file (the datastore) as data storage. This has a large performance impact on calculations heavy on data storage.

  2. Thanks to the new calculators, the celery/rabbitmq combo is now optional. Actually, the recommended way to run the engine on a single machine is without celery/rabbitmq. This means that the majority of the users, including everybody using the official virtual machines will have a simpler experience. The most common error for newbies was to forget starting celery or running it from the wrong directory. Now this barrier is gone. Also, the engine is more efficient without celery/rabbitmq, especially for calculations with a large data transfer.

  3. In a cluster situation, the combo celery/rabbitmq is still needed. In this case you should edit the file openquake.cfg and set the parameter use_celery to True. Then, a dynamic default for the parameter concurrent_tasks will be determined by asking celery how many cores are available and by multiplying that number by 2. This is done at each new calculation. This mechanism solves another common error for users setting a bad concurrent_tasks.

  4. The classical hazard calculator has been completely rewritten. Now it automatically splits the site collection in tiles of size sites_per_tiles (the default is 1,000 sites per tile). This has an huge performance benefit, especially for continental scale calculation with tens or hundreds of thousand of sites.

  5. The storage of the results in the datastore has been significantly improved. There is now a serialization protocol to and from HDF5: thanks to that several pickled Python objects have been removed from the datastore and replaced with proper arrays. Among them:

    sitecol: contains the hazard sites and their parameters

    assetcol: contains the exposure

    riskmodel: contains the vulnerability/fragility functions

    csm_info: contains information about the composition of the source model

  6. There is now an HTTP API to validate NRML files, implemented on top of the engine server. This API is used by the new Risk Input Preparation Toolkit in the platform.

  7. We enabled Zip64 extensions and now we can export zip files larger than 4 GB on 64 bit machines.

  8. The validation of the risk models in the engine has been improved. In particular if the user writes “SA” instead of “SA(…)” the error is flagged early. If the risk wants some Intensity Measure Type which is not available, a clear error is displayed early.

  9. A few CSV exporter were improved. In particular we added a taxonomy column to the CSV output of the scenario damage calculator in presence of a consequence model. Moreover, now the hazard map CSV exporter also exports the PoEs as column headers. Finally, we changed the column names in the header to be lon and lat for longitude and latitude fields: this makes it easier to import the data in QGIS.

  10. We improved the algorithm to determine the required data transfer for the source model. Moreover, now we also report the figures for the task with the highest data transfer back.

  11. hazardlib now contains an arbitrary MFD, in which the magnitudes and rates are input as a pair of lists.

  12. Several new GMPEs have been added:

  • GMPE of Gupta (2010) for intraslab earthquakes in the Indo-Burmese subduction zone

  • GMPE of Nath et al. (2012) for interface subduction in in the Shillong plateau of India

  • GMPE of Kanno et al. (2006) for shallow and deep earthquakes in Japan

  • Two GMPEs for weighted mean epistemic uncertainty NSHMP NGA

  • Fixed the GMPETable class: this was needed for the Canada model

  • GMPE of Raghukanth & Iyengar (2007) for stable continental regions of peninsular India

  • GMPE of Sharma et al. (2009) for active shallow crust in Himalayas

  • GMPE of Drout (2015) for Brazil

  • GMPE of Moltalva et al (2015)

  1. Other improvements entered in hazardlib, such as making clearer the error message in several validity checks for the GMPEs, or adding a method split_in_tiles to the SiteCollection class.

  2. The .rst report of a calculation has been improved and more information is displayed. The command oq-lite info --report job.ini allows to generate a partial report without running the full computation, whereas the command `oq-lite show fullreport <calc_id>`` displays the full report after the computation has been executed.

Bug fixes and changes with respect to OpenQuake 1.7#

  1. We removed several switches from the oq-engine command: all the commands that have been deprecated for over two years, all the commands that have become obsolete (i.e. the one specific to PostgreSQL), and all the commands that never worked properly:

  • –list_inputs

  • –lite

  • –list-hazard-outputs/–lho

  • –list-risk-outputs/–lro

  • –export-hazard-output/–eh

  • –export-risk-output/–er

  • –export-hazard-outputs/–eho

  • –export-risk-outputs/–ero

  • –export-stats/–es

  • –save-hazard-calculation/–shc

  • –load-hazard-calculation

  • –load-curve

  • –list-imported-outputs

  1. --delete-hazard-calculation and --delete-risk-calculation have been unified into a single --delete-calculation.

  2. A lot of obsolete code (over 12,000 lines) has been removed from the engine and the code base is now smaller and manageable: more will be removed in the next release.

  3. The logic for splitting the sources has changed: now only the so-called heavy sources are split, thus reducing a lot the split time and the data transfer.

  4. The algorithm to read the source model has been changed and it is faster, since it does not require to parse the same file more than once anymore. This was the case for nontrivial logic trees.

  5. The algorithm to generate seeds for the event based calculator has changed. The new algorithm ensures that the results are not affected by the splitting procedure. Because of the change in the algorithm, the ruptures produced by the event based calculator are slightly different than before, and all the dependent quantites are different as well. The difference however is stochastically insignificant, akin to a change of seeds and in the limit of a large number of Stochastic Event Sets the results are equivalent.

  6. A subtle bug in the scenario risk calculator, affecting calculations with nonzero coefficients of variations, was discovered. The epsilons were associated to the assets in a random order. The issue has been fixed and this is the reason why the numbers are (slightly) different from before in the ScenarioRisk demo.

  7. There was a possible bug when reading GMFs from a NRML file, if longitude and latitude has more than 5 digits. This has been fixed now. The coordinates are still rounded to 5 digits, but we removed the need for the ordering check, so any file can be imported, even if the coordinates are not ordered after rounding.

  8. We temporarily removed the ability to compute insured loss curves from the classical risk calculator. The reason is that doubts were raised about the algorithm used. The plan is to restore such functionality in the next version of the engine with a better and more tested algorithm.

  9. The parameter asset_hazard_distance was not honored for the calculators classical_risk and classical_bcr: this has been fixed now.

  10. Several structures in the HDF5 datastore have changed. The HDF5 format continues to be not stable and it will keep changing in the next version of the engine. If you want to write your our routines your our routines to extract/plot the hazard curves or the loss curves from the datastore, you can, but you should be aware that you will have to change your code with future releases of the engine.

  11. We fixed a bug in the exporter for the average losses in the event based risk calculator: in presence of multiple loss types, the numbers were mixed up.

  12. We fixed a few XML export bugs. Now the XML exporters for mean and quantile loss curves and maps work properly in all situations. Also, the XML exporters for the Uniform Hazard Spectra have been rewritten to export from the datastore, not from the database.

  13. We are not storing anymore the epsilon matrix in event based and scenario risk calculations. There was no strong reason to persist it, and since it can be rather large, it was artificially making the datastore larger than needed.

  14. We removed a check that was too strict: now the exposure does not need to provide costs if you are doing damage calculations, since the classical damage and scenario damage calculators depends on the numbers and the occupancies, not on the costs.

  15. Some unused and undocumented configuration parameters like statistics have been removed.

  16. The demos have been revisited and updated.

  17. We fixed a subtle bug that made it impossible to make a deepcopy of source objects.

  18. Since all the classical calculators use the datastore, the export has changed slightly with respect to the past. Everything is now more consistent.

  19. We added a check on classical damage calculation: now if there is a PoE = 1, the error is raised early in the pre_execute phase and not during the parallel calculation.

  20. The oq-lite command-line tool has been enhanced and the order of arguments for the commands oq-lite show and oq-lite export have changed. The tool is still experimental and could disappear in the next release; it could be merged with the oq-engine command-line tool.

  21. Countless small improvements and additional validations have been added. This release has seen 159 pull requests reviewed and merged.

Support for different platforms#

OpenQuake 1.8 supports Ubuntu from release 12.04 up to 15.10. We provide official packages for the long term releases 12.04 and 14.04. Ubuntu 12.04 has been deprecated for a long time and this is the last release to support it.

We have official packages also for CentOS 7 and in general for [Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones] (

While the engine is not supported on Windows and Mac OS X, we are happy to report that the underlying libraries and the oq-lite command-line tool run just fine.


Depending on the version of the HDF5 libraries you are using, you may get a warning like the following:

HDF5: infinite loop closing library

Please ignore it, it is a quirk on the underlying library. The engine is working correctly.