Getting Started

This tutorial demonstrates how to create a very simple flowchart and execute its workflow. In Managing the Dashboard and Working with the Dashboard, we will provide guidance on how to set up the Dashboard and use it to monitor and inspect the job results. These tutorials are carefully designed to guide the first-time users of the SEAMM through the preliminary steps of preparation while delineating its fundamental functionalities in details. As such, subsequent tutorials will assume that the users have mastered the skills required to build flowcharts, execute jobs and check the outputs.

First, make sure the Dashboard and Job Server are running. Refer to the Installing SEAMM section if you do not know or remember how to get them up and running. Open a terminal and activate the seamm conda environment:

conda activate seamm

and start the SEAMM GUI by calling its name in the terminal:


This will bring up a window like the one shown below:

An empty SEAMM window

SEAMM initial window

The window consists of two panes separated by a sash – the grey line. If you hover over the sash the cursor will change to a horizontal double-pointed arrow enabling the adjustment of the pane sizes. The left pane contains the list of available plug-in categories. Clicking on each category expands its content and represents it as a list of available plug-ins. Clicking on the same point on the screen will hide the expanded list:

Building category of plug-ins expanded

The SEAMM window with the Building category of plug-ins expanded

The right-hand pane contains the initial step of a flowchart, Start. There must be one and only one start step in a flowchart because this is where execution starts. Users cannot delete or add a Start step.

Let us create a simple flowchart and add a molecule to it using SMILES. SMILES is a specific representation of a chemical structures in the string format. Then, we add a new step, in which we optimize the geometry of the molecule, imported in the previous step, with a semi-empirical quantum chemistry method.

By clicking on the FromSmilesStep from the Building section, a rectangular box for the new step labeled as from SMILES appears in the right pane. This box is also connected to the Start step:

FLowchart with FromSMILESStep

The flowchart after adding the FromSMILESStep

If you have accidentally clicked twice on the FromSmilesStep or any other menu item that you did not want, just right-click on the unwanted step and select delete from the poped-up menu:

Deleting a step

Deleting a step from a flowchart

In the next stage, we need to set the SMILES string variable for the added molecule. Almost every step has a dialog window that allows the users to set parameters and control the details of the task in each step of the workflow. In order to access the dialog, one can either right-click on the step box and select Edit... from the menu or just double-click on the step box to open it:

The dialog for the FromSMILES step

The dialog for the FromSMILES step

Click in the field labeled SMILES and type CCS, which is the SMILES representation for ethanethiol. Leave everything else as is and click on the OK button:

The dialog for the FromSMILES step

The completed dialog for the FromSMILES step

Now, open the Simulations section in the left panel and add a DFTB+ step:

The flowchart with the DFTB+ step added

The flowchart with the DFTB+ step added

Then, open the dialog for the DFTB+ step:

The dialog for the DFTB+ step

The dialog for the DFTB+ step

Note that this dialog looks like the main SEAMM window. Some steps, like the FromSMILES step, perform one task and thus, can be handled by a single dialog. However, many simulation codes such as DFTB+ are capable of performing multiple tasks and often have their own syntax. Open the Setup and then the Simulation sections on the left panel in order and add the ChooseParameters and the Optimization steps in the same order:

The flowchart for DFTB+

The flowchart for DFTB+

Open the dialog for the ChooseParameters step by double-clicking on it:

The DFTB+ ChooseParameters dialog

The dialog for the DFTB+ ChooseParameters step

The ChooseParameters dialog is quite a large and complex but at least, it is organized similar to a periodic table!

A short description of how DFTB+ works is in order. DFTB+ is a semiempirical quantum chemistry code. It uses parameterized Slater-Koster functions for each atom. However, several parameterizations are available to choose from. These datasets are listed in the pull-down button near the bottom for the dialog window that is currently opened. Some of the datasets have additional add-on datasets that either add more elements to the existing sets or are tuned for different systems and properties. More information about the parameter sets can be found in the DFTB website.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned datasets do not cover all elements. As such, one needs to find an appropriate dataset that can handle all elements of interest. The ChooseParameters dialog offers two ways to find the appropriate parameters set. In the first approach, when a dataset and perhaps an auxiliary dataset is selected from the two pull-down buttons at the bottom of the dialog, the supported elements within the periodic table are automatically highlighted in red. The default dataset, ob3, can handle a list of elements including H, C, N, O, F, Na, Mg, P, S, Cl, Zn, Br, I, and Ca, which would be suitable for our ethanethiol example as well as a wide range of organic molecules that are made of the aforementioned elements.

In the second approach, one can select the desired set of elements, say, H, C, N, O, S, and Zn. Then, check the drop-down button at the bottom of the dialog to see what choices are available for the selected set of elements:

The ChooseParameters dialog with elements selected

The ChooseParameters dialog with elements selected

For our selected set of elements mentioned above, only 3ob and mio provide global support. Let us keep the default dataset, 3ob, because it is the newest and one of the most general datasets.

Now, we are going to take a look at the Optimization dialog:

The DFTB+ Optimization dialog

The DFTB+ Optimization dialog

There are certainly a lot of choices available. On the left side of the dialog, there are options for controlling the Hamiltonian and the physical approximations being made. The right-hand side of the dialog consists of parameters for controlling the geometry optimzation procedure. The pre-defined default values are often reasonable. Thus, let us leave them untouched by clicking Cancel and leaving all control parameters unchanged.


If you do not intend to make any changes in a dialog, it is a good idea to close it with the Cancel button. It is a common habit to click OK, but pressing the latter button saves any changes that are made unintentionally and remained overlooked. Such accidental mistakes might result in calculations with unusual behavior and surprising outcomes far from your expectations. Therefore, we recommend using the Cancel button unless you actually want to make and save changes in the dialog.

Click OK to close the DFTB+ dialog to save your changes. In order to execute the calculation, click on the File menu and select Run or use the accelerator (⌘R on a Mac, ^R on Windows or Linux) to get the following dialog:

The Run Dialog

The Run dialog in SEAMM

If the Project field is empty or not set, type default in it and then, add a useful title in the Title field. Briefly describe your goal and the details of your simulation workflow within the large text area at the bottom of the dialog. Finally, click OK to execute the calculation.

In the next two tutorials, we will demonstrate how to setup and work with Dashboard in order to monitor and manage the executed jobs.