RockWorks/17 Revision History
(015) Cosmetic (03/16/15/JPR): The upper portion of the main RockWorks menu has been redesigned to include a pull-down menu titled "Settings". The Project Coordinates, Dimensions, Units, and Notes are now accessed from this new menu thereby de-cluttering the main RockWorks menu. Toggling the arrows either to the right of the Settings button or along the far right edge of the Settings summary panel, will cause the Settings option to expand.
Clicking on the Notes tab within the expanded Settings menu will cause the settings menu to fill the entire dialog. The dialog will automatically collapse when something other than Notes is clicked.
Items that have been relocated into the new Settings pull-down menu include those shown below ...
(014) Improvement (03/13/15/JCJ): RockWorks17 now uses SQL Server Express as the default database format instead of MDB. Before we go into the advantages and disadvantages of this change, some explanations are in order:
MDB (Microsoft DataBase) is the file format that is used by the JET (Joint Engine Technology) database engine. The JET engine is used by the Microsoft Access and Visual Basic products as well as RockWorks16. The maximum size of an MDB database is 2gb.
SQL Server Express uses a client/server model. This means that it requires a running services to provide access to a datastore which can complicate deployment in some scenarios. SQL Server Express is a downsized version of SQL Server (see next item) that limits the database to 10gb and 4 CPU cores. Programs that are written to support SQL Server Express, such as RockWorks17, can be configured to use SQL Server instead. RockWorks17 includes and installs the free version of SQL Server Express from Microsoft.
SQL Server Standard uses a client/server model that supports databases up to 524pb and 16 CPU cores. RockWorks17 can be configured to use an existing installation of SQL Server as well as the extended version of SQL Server such as SQL Server Business Intelligence and SQL Server Enterprise. SQL Server is Microsoft's flagship database product.
Reliability: If a JET client machine crashes while writing data, the database may also crash and become corrupt. If an SQL Server client crashes, the data manager does not commit the partially transmitted data to the database.
Performance: When a JET client performs a query, all involved tables are copied across the network from the server to the client. Properly written SQL Server programs perform the query on the server resulting in dramatic speed improvements.
Reduced Network Traffic: The performance improvements described above translate to significantly minimized network traffic.
Scalability: JET applications start to seriously bog down with more than 10 concurrent clients. SQL Server applications can support hundreds of concurrent clients without significant performance degradation.
Complexity: Although the SQL Server Express is automatically installed by RockWorks17, installing SQL Server Standard (or Microsoft's Azure SQL Database) requires network expertise (e.g. IT staff support).
Cost: SQL Server is licensed by Microsoft on a per-user basis whereas SQL Server Express is a "free distributable" from Microsoft that is included within the RockWorks17 installation program.
(013) Improvement (03/13/15/JPR): RockWorks17 has been converted to a 64-bit program. This means that the program can now address up to 17.2gb of memory (versus 4gb with RockWorks16) for storing grids and block models.
Note: 64-bit support does NOT improve speed. In fact, it can actually slow things down if a program uses the larger-range/precision integers and real numbers that 64-bit allows for. To minimize this effect, we have attempted to retain 32-bit precision whenever possible.
(004-012) Improvements (03/13/15/JPR): The following processes have been rewritten as multi-threaded operations:
(004) Solid Model Smoothing
(005) IDW / Isotropic Block Modeling
(006) Highest Probablility Block Modeling
(007) Lateral Extrusion Block Modeling
(008) Lateral Blending Block Modeling
(009) IDW / Anisotropic Block Modeling
(010) Distance-to-Point Block Modeling
(011) Block Modeling - Interpolate Outliers
(012) Block Model Rounding
Multi-threading (also called "parallel processing" or "multi-core processing") is a programming technique whereby tasks are divided into chunks and concurrently processed by separate processors. This can result in significant speed improvements (e.g. 3.5x with a 4-core Intel I7 processor). Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks being:
Increased Power Consumption: Battery-powered devices will be drained more quickly when Parallel Processing is enabled and RockWorks is performing a task that involves multi-threading.
Increased Heat: The CPU (Central
Processing Unit) will heat up when Parallel Processing is enabled and
RockWorks is performing a task that involves multi-threading. Fanless
tablets and poorly-ventilated laptops
may overheat and automatically shut down.
Uninterruptable Processes: The handful of
processes within RockWorks that use parallel processing will post a
message within the status dialog stating that the Cancel button has been
temporarily disabled during the
Other Programs Run More Slowly: RockWorks
will monopolize all of the processors when multi-threading. As a
consequence, other programs that are concurrently running will slow
(003) New Feature (03/13/15/JPR): A new option titled "QuickMap" has been added to the Borehole Manager.
This QuickMap screen provides a means to quickly review the location of boreholes. It is NOT intended to replace the other borehole mapping programs or to produce publication quality maps. Instead, it is only intended as a tool for seeing if "things look right". Notable features include;
A variety of optional layers including a background image (e.g. air photo), collar symbols, borehole tracks, and well labels.
Right-clicking a borehole will cause a menu to appear that includes an option to highlight the borehole within the borehole list (to the left of the QuickMap screen). By then clicking on the Borehole Data tab at the top, all of the data for that particular borehole is now available.
(002) Cosmetic (03/13/15/JPR): Two new tabs, labeled "Borehole Data" and "QuickMap" have been added to the region to the right of the Borehole List. The Borehole Data tab shows the borehole data while the QuickMap tab shows the new QuickMap page (see above).
(001) New Feature (03/07/15/JPR): A new checkbox titled "Omit columns with no data." has been added to the new Miscellaneous Options pulldown menu within the 2-D log designer.
This new feature will omit the following data columns, on a log-by-log basis, if they do not contain data.
The Omit Columns option slows down the processing speed.
If the logs are being clipped and a column contains data that is not visible within the clipped region, the column will not be omitted.
If a column has only non-visible data (zero-thickness intervals), the column will not be ommitted.
The Omit Columns option should not be used within hole-to-hole sections when the Plot Correlations option is enabled.