Frequently Asked QuestionsFor general questions about AgenaRisk as well as many hints, tips and videos, join the AgenaRisk LinkedIn User Group.
- Why am I having trouble installing AgenaRisk?
- Why am I getting a message about a license file after installing AgenaRisk Lite or AgenaRisk Free
- Why is there no AgenaRisk program group, start menu item and desktop shortcut created after installation (they were there in previous versions of AgenaRisk)?
- Does AgenaRisk have a facility to learn the BN structure and/or tables from data?
- Why am I getting messages telling me that 'inconsistent evidence' has been entered on one or more nodes?
- I cannot find the example models or tutorials. Where are they?
- I cannot see a help file or user manual. Where is it?
- When I run the sensitivity analyser I only see an html page with blank spaces
- My model was previously working OK, but now it does not calculate properly. What is going on?
- Memory issues: Why does the application sometimes hang in a way that it cannot be recovered and is there anything I can do stop this happening?
- Why does the application seem to hang sometimes when I enter an observation in the risk table view or in the risk map view?
Why am I having trouble installing AgenaRisk?
Most installation problems are the result of users not carefully following the instructions here.
In particular, note that in most versions of Windows operating systems you must install the software as an administrator. If you did not, then you will see an error message either a) after you input the license key details (if you are installing a version that requires a license; or b) when you attempt to run AgenaRisk for the first time. In either case you should rerun the installation by right-clicking on the AgenaRisk installation file and selecting 'Run as administrator'.
If you are installing a version that requires a license, then a failure will also occur if either a) you did not save the license file in the folder where AgenaRisk was installed; or b) you entered the wrong code in the text box when prompted. In the case of b) note that if you copy and pasted the text from the email message sent to you then it is probable that a blank character was added at the end of the string. You must enter the text without any blank characters before or after.
Finally, if you are installing a version that requires a license in a version of Windows after Windows 7 then, after the installation is complete, the first time you run AgenaRisk you will also need to 'Run as administrator'. This will ensure that the license setup is completed properly (and subsequent uses will not require you to run as administrator).
Why am I getting a message about a license file after installing AgenaRisk Lite or AgenaRisk Free
It is almost certain that you had installed a previous version of AgenaRisk. Before November 2012 all versions of AgenaRisk - including the free evaluation - came with a license file (a file with extension .ull when locked and .llf when unlocked). When you install a new version of AgenaRisk this file is NOT removed even after doing an uninstall of the old version. You need to manually remove it after doing a full uninstall of the old version. The folder where the old license file was stored varies according to operating system and the way the software was first installed but typically it will be in something like
Once removed you should reinstall the latest version (which does not need a license file) following the instructions here.
Why is there no AgenaRisk program group, start menu item and desktop shortcut created after installation (they were there in previous versions of AgenaRisk)?
When installing the latest version of AgenaRisk the AgenaRisk program group, start menu item and desktop shortcut are no longer automatically created (this is due to a change in the third party installer software that is beyond our control). To run AgenaRisk you therefore have to select the file agenrisk.exe that you will find in the installation directory (this is typically located here: C:\Program Files\AgenaRisk). You should, for convenience, simply create your own desktop shortcut to this file.
Does AgenaRisk have a facility to learn the BN structure and/or tables from data?
Since Version 7.0 AgenaRisk contains powerful functionality for learning tables from data as explained in Chapter 10 of the User Manual. However, AgenaRisk does not currently contain structure learning functionality. In respect of this, the following should be noted:
- Our entire research philosophy is based on the need for experts rather than data to drive the specification of both the BN structure and the probability tables. BNs learned purely from data are more often than not extremely unhelpful and misleading (see the simple example here). We do extensive research on how to combine data with expert knowledge and eventually we hope some of this research will be incorporated into AgenaRisk, so that experts can simply point to a dataset to supplement their expert input. But this is not available yet.
- While we do not recommend learning the BN structure from data, there are free tools available for doing this. One that we have used is Cheng's award-winning Powersoft that you can find here:
This enables a learnt model to be saved as a .net file (this is the Hugin tool file format) which can be imported into AgenaRisk.
- Even without data, AgenaRisk provides a range of special features that make it far easier than other BN tools to actually complete the probability tables. In particular:
- The implementation of ranked nodes and weighted functions (based on our internationally renowned research in this area) allows the NPT for a ranked node with multiple parents to be easily defined for almost all reasonable circumstances.
- The implementation of many pre-defined statistical functions for numeric nodes and Boolean functions for Boolean nodes
- The implementation of our internationally renowned research on dynamic discretisation which means that numeric nodes do not require the user to define discrete state ranges and their associated probabilities.
Why am I getting messages telling me that 'inconsistent evidence' has been entered on one or more nodes?
The method of probability calculation carried out in AgenaRisk aims to make the overall model consistent with the assumptions made and the observations entered. The model will be inconsistent if you:
- Select a state value as an observation when the probability of observing that state is actually zero
- Entering observations on two state values on different nodes each of which have non-zero probabilities but which when calculated actually have zero joint probability of occurring together.
- Create a risk node containing a probability assignment that depends on another node that contradicts this assumption.
When using simulation nodes you may also get an inconsistent evidence message in situations where theoretically the probability of the observation is non-zero. This is because although a simulation node with an expression like, for example, the Normal distribution, may in theory have non-zero probability values over an infinite range there are ranges whose probability is so close to zero that it is treated as zero. To understand this, create a new simulation node. By default the NPT is a Normal distribution with mean 0 and variance 1000000. Change the variance to 1000 and calculate. Although in theory arbitrarily high or low values are possible for this distribution (such as a value within the range 100000000 and 100000000.1) such probability values are so small that if you entered an observation within such a range you will get an ‘inconsistent evidence’ error message. In fact, almost all of the non-zero probability mass (99.9% of it) lies within –30 and 30. If you try to enter a value above, say 300 you will trigger the error message.
I cannot find the example models or tutorials. Where are they?
If AgenaRisk is installed properly then when you select the option
File-->Open Example Model
you will automatically see a file dialog opened in the Examples folder. Similarly The actual folder where the examples (and also the tutorials) are installed is operating system dependent, but it is normally something like
If you installed AgenaRisk on a machine for which you are not the full systems administrator then on certain operating systems (e.g. most versions of Windows since Windows 7) the installer is will not copy files into your default user folder. Instead it will install them to the user administrator's area. This is true even if you installed as administrator. So when you try to open an example model you will to be taken to a default file dialog that does not contain the example models. However, there is a one-time manual fix that will work in most situations. Specifically, you should be able to find the necessary files in the system admin user's area. Typically this will be something like
Once you have located this you should see the file
and the folders
You should copy the pdf files and the two folders into your own user folder:
If you find yourself in this situation and cannot get the necessary administrative permission to locate and copy files, then you can still find many of the example models here.
I cannot see a help file. Where is it?
If AgenaRisk is installed properly then the Help menu should contain the link to the help file and tutorials.
However, if the only options you can see in the help menu are
"About AgenaRisk" and "AgenaRisk Help on the Web"
then this means there was a problem with administrative rights when you installed AgenaRisk.
The actual folder where the manuals and tutorials are installed is operating system dependent, but it is normally something like
If you installed AgenaRisk on a machine for which you are not the full systems administrator then on certain operating systems (e.g. most versions of Windows since Windows 7) the installer will not copy files into your default user folder. Instead it will install them to the user administrator's area. In this scenario you will also find that the example models and tutorials are missing for the same reason. To fix this problem follow the instructions here.
If you find yourself in this situation and cannot get the necessary administrative permission to locate and copy files, then you can still find the latest version of the Help file (user manual) and other relevant resources here.
When I run the sensitivity analyser I only see an html page with blank spaces
This is caused by exactly the same administrative rights problem as described here and can be fixed by applying the solution given there. In particular, it is the absence of the "Images' folder in
that causes this problem.
My model was previously working OK, but now it does not calculate properly. What is going on?
The most frequent reason that a previously working model will not run properly in the new version is because of the new simulation convergence settings. In versions of AgenaRisk prior to 6.0 the default simulation convergence was 1.0E-6. Before running any old model in the new version you should change this setting to the new default of 1.0E-3 (see the User Manual). You should also change the state ranges for simulation nodes to the new defaults (-inf to inf).
Sometimes (especially when using older legacy models) a model can become corrupted so that a previously working model starts to behave in unexpected ways and even fails to calculate. A common symptom of a model that has become corrupted is a very large cmp file. This can sometimes happen if the user had cut and pasted a jpeg or similar into a text field (we have now designed out this failure mode). The use of foreign language characters (such as umlauts and circumflexes) has also led to instances of corrupted models.
The steps to determine and fix corruption are:
- change .cmp file name to .zip (to enable windows to view it as a compressed archive)
- open up this .zip file and find the file with .mod
- if the .mod file is >1MB in size then it is most likely corrupt (windows or the zip file app. should report the uncompressed size of this file).
- copy the .mod file from the zip archive and change it to a .txt extension
- open it in wordpad or similar.
- scroll down and if you see many strange characters together then it is corrupt
- find the node name above these strange characters
- go back to original cmp file and open in Agenarisk
- find the risk object containing that identified node and delete it (keep a backup!)
- save model and then reopen and recreate risk object you deleted - from scratch.
Memory issues: Why does the application sometimes hang in a way that it cannot be recovered and is there anything I can do stop this happening?
Large models with many simulation nodes and with high accuracy simulation settings require a lot of memory to run. You may be able to increase the amount of memory available depending on the version of AgenaRisk installed and on your machine's processor. AgenaRisk has a choice of 64-bit or 32-bit installer. The 32-bit version limits memory size to 1 GB but with the 64-bit version the only limit is the amount of RAM in your machine. In this case you just need to edit the default settings in text file named "AgenaRisk.vmoptions" that you will find in the installation directory (this is typically located here: C:\Program Files\AgenaRisk). So, for 1 GB memory we set -Xmx1024m and for 3GB we set -Xmx3072m (this is the default). There is a similar setting for stack size, which you might need to open very large models.
Why does the application seem to hang sometimes when I enter an observation in the risk table view or in the risk map view?
It is almost certain that you have the auto-calculate button set on. When it is set on AgenaRisk will automatically run the whole model every time you enter a single observation and that is what is causing the delay. For most models it is recommended that you do NOT have auto-calculate set on.