Adding Summary Statistics and Simulators

Coala uses a modular system based on R6 Classes for integrating summary statistics and coalescent simulators. This document contains instructions on adding both.

Summary Statistics

Summary statistics are derived from the sumstat_class base class. They primarily consist of a calculate function that -- well -- calculates the statistics value from the simulation results. A simple example is the sumstat_seg_sites() statistic:

stat_segsites_class <- R6Class("stat_segsites", inherit = sumstat_class,
  private = list(req_segsites = TRUE),
  public = list(
    calculate = function(segsites, trees, files, model, sim_task) segsites

sumstat_seg_sites <- function(name = "seg_sites", transformation = identity) {
  stat_segsites_class$new(name, transformation)

The calculate is called after the simulation with the following arguments:

Among the above mentioned parameters, model is always passed to the calculate function. The other three input parameters are generated on demand and have to be requested by the statistic. To do so, set the private variables req_segsites, req_trees or req_files, respectively, to TRUE. Arguments not requested can be present if they are created for a different summary statistic, but will be NULL in most cases.

In this example we only use the segregating sites, and hence it is the only argument request. All that the summary statistic does is to return the unmodified segregating sites.

Warning: I am currently only satisfied with the structure of the segregating sites. The format of the trees and the files arguments might still change.

Adding A Constructor

If the statistic has additional options that can be set on creation, overwrite the initialize function. Take, for example, a simplified version of sumstat_file:

stat_file_class <- R6Class("stat_file", inherit = sumstat_class,
  private = list(folder = NULL, req_files = TRUE),
  public = list(
    initialize = function(folder) {
      dir.create(folder, showWarnings = FALSE)
      private$folder <- folder
      super$initialize("file", identity)
    calculate = function(seg_sites, trees, files, model, sim_task) {
      file.copy(files, private$folder, overwrite = FALSE)
      file.path(private$folder, basename(files))

This function requires only the folder argument on initialization, which is the folder into which the files are copied. In the initialize function, the folder is created and its name is stored in a private variable. Finally, it calls the constructor of sumstat_class via super$initialize. This is essential when defining your own constructors! See the ?sumstat_class for further details.


Adding support for new coalescent simulators is more difficult than adding summary statistics. If you are planning to do so, I highly recommend to open an issue in coala's bug tracker first, so that I can assist with the implementation.

The most important part is to create a simulate function that the model and the model parameters as arguments, conducts the simulation and parses the output to create the segsites and/or trees argument for the summary statistics. It should throw an error with stop() if it is given a model which is not supported.

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coala documentation built on May 29, 2024, 11:14 a.m.