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Class-based Workflows

Switching to classes

We now know that all workflows are really just python functions (+ some automatic functionality added on top). However, advanced python users will run into trouble here... This is because functions are not as powerful as classes when it comes to organizing and reusing code.

Simmate therefore let's you build workflows from a Workflow class, rather than the @workflow function decorator. In order to convert our function to a Workflow class, we must do the following:

  • set the class name using Simmate conventions (we cover this in the next section)
  • define a run_config method
  • add @staticmethod or @classmethod to run_config

Taking our add workflow from the previous tutorial:

from simmate.engine import Workflow

class Math__Basic__Add(Workflow):

    use_database = False  # we don't have a database table yet

    def run_config(x, y, **kwargs):
        return x + y

# running is the same as before
status =, y=2)
result = status.result()

Nothing has changed with our workflow -- it just looks a little more complex. Writing workflows in this way might seem silly at first, but class-based workflows make advanced features MUCH easier to implement.

We will demonstrate this in the App-based Workflows section. For now, let's focus on our crazy class name (Math__Basic__Add) and why we chose that.

Naming Your Workflows

Importance of naming

In Simmate, the naming of your new workflow is a crucial step.

Certain features, such as the website interface, necessitate that workflow names adhere to a specific format. This allows us to perform tasks such as locating your new workflow within the website interface. We follow a set of rules to generate workflow names like

Here's how a workflow name appears in different contexts:



Math__Basic__Add becomes math.basic.add, and once placed in a custom app, this workflow can be found in the website at http://localhost:8000/workflows/math/basic/add

Understanding conventions

Simmate's naming conventions consist of three components:

  1. The type of analysis the workflow performs
  2. The "app" (or program) that the workflow uses for execution
  3. A unique name to distinguish the settings used

Examples for each component are:

  1. relaxation, static-energy, dynamics, ...
  2. vasp, abinit, qe, deepmd, ...
  3. jacks-test, matproj, quality00, ...

Combined, example workflow names would be:

  • relaxation.vasp.jacks-test
  • static-energy.abinit.matproj
  • dynamics.qe.quality00

To convert this to our workflow name in python, we replace periods with two underscores each and convert our words to pascal case. For instance, our workflow names become:

  • Relaxation__Vasp__JacksTest
  • StaticEnergy__Abinit__Matproj
  • Dynamics__Qe__Quality00


Be mindful of capitalization as it is crucial in this context. Always double-check your workflow names.

Powerful App-based Workflows

Using the Workflow organization instead @workflow decorator might seem silly at first, but class-based workflows make advanced features MUCH easier to implement.

For example, say we want to make a workflow that uses Quantum Espresso or VASP. For VASP, we provide a VaspWorkflow class. For Quantum Espresso, we provide a PwscfWorkflow (PW-SCF is a component of QE). Here are some basic VASP and QE workflows written in Simmate:

from simmate.apps.vasp.workflows.base import VaspWorkflow

class Relaxation__Vasp__ExampleSettings(VaspWorkflow):

    functional = "PBE"
    potcar_mappings = {"Y": "Y_sv", "C": "C"}

    _incar = dict(
from simmate.apps.quantum_espresso.workflows.base import PwscfWorkflow

class StaticEnergy__QuantumEspresso__ExampleSettings(PwscfWorkflow):

    control = dict(

    system = dict(

    electrons = dict(

    psuedo_mappings_set = "SSSP_PBE_EFFICIENCY"

    k_points = dict(

There are many more workflows and base classes to explore. Be sure to look through both our Apps and Full Guides.


Even if you don't know how to use VASP or QE, the key takeaway here should be that you can translate their software's inputs into a Simmate workflow with minimal effort.

Advanced Workflow Features

There are still many improvements that you may want to incorporate into your new workflow(s). For instance, you might want to:

  • Modify a complex workflow (like diffusion.vasp.neb-all-paths-mit)
  • Develop a custom workflow using a new program such as USPEX or ABINIT
  • Utilize a custom database table to store your workflow results
  • Access the workflow via the website interface
  • Access your workflow from other scripts (and the get_workflow function)

These topics will be addressed in the next tutorial, where we will simultaneously cover custom database tables.