The goal of this work is to study the interaction of dislocations with local obstacles to glide such as point defects, precipitates and other dislocations. The quasicontinuum method is used as the basis of this study. It is demonstrated that two types of boundary effects are of concern in the calculation of hardening parameters using finite sized simulation cells. A recently developed technique to incorporate periodic boundary conditions in the quasicontinuum method is used to eliminate surface effects which were present in earlier implementations and to simulate a dislocation of infinite extent interacting with an array of obstacles. The second type of boundary effect is due to the boundary conditions on the lateral boundaries. A method based on finite element calculations is proposed for quantifying the effect of lateral boundaries in these simulations. Preliminary results for the validation of the method are presented as well as a simulation of the interaction between a conventional edge dislocation in Al with an array of clusters of Ni atoms.