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Making Projects Reproducible#

Scientific software is often developed and used by a single person. It is all too common in academia to be handed a postdoc or graduate student's old code and be unable to replicate the original study, run the software outside of the original development machine, or even get the software to work at all. The goal of this tutorial is to provide some guidelines to make your summer projects reproducible -- this means your project can be installed on another computer and give the same results you got over the summer. At the end of the summer, your project should be understandable and transferable to your future-self and anyone else who may want to pick up where you left off without having to constantly email you about how to get your project running.

(Note: Your future-self doesn't have the luxury of being able to email your past-self).

What is a reproducible project?#

One that...

  • works for someone other than the original team
  • can be easily installed on another computer
  • has documentation that describes any dependencies and how to install them
  • comes with enough tests to indicate the software is running properly

All projects should have a README that communicates the following:

  1. What the project is about
  2. A short description of the project (i.e. the problem you are trying to solve).

  3. The required dependencies to run the software

  4. The can be in the form of a requirements.txt file for Python that lists the dependencies and version numbers.
  5. The system-level dependencies.

  6. Installation instructions

  7. How to install your software and associated binaries. This can be in the form of instructions on how to use pip, apt, yum, or some other binary package manager.

  8. Example usage

  9. The inputs and outputs of your software (i.e. how to use it) with code examples.

  10. Attribution/Licensing

  11. Who did what and how others can use your software.

Examples: - Chicago Food Inspections - DSSG Police EIS - Linux Kernel

What to Do#

What NOT to Do#

  • Use hard-coded paths.

  • Require Sudo/root privileges to install your project.

  • You can't anticipate whether or not someone will have root access to the machine they are installing your project on, so don't count on it. Additionally, you shouldn't require users to create separate user names for your project.
  • Use non-standard formats for inputs (stick to YAML, XML, JSON, CLA, etc).
  • My one exception to this rule is log files - which you should provide an example of in a README. Otherwise it is easier to just stick with what is already in use.
  • Have a messy repo with random files everywhere.
  • This is confusing, irritating and cancerous to productive enterprise.
  • Commit data or sensitive information like database passcodes to the GitHub repo.
  • Your repository is for your codebase, not the data. Furthermore, your data may be sensitive and need to be protected.
  • Always assume that your repo will be public someday if you are hosting on GitHub (for your DSSG project it will be). Sensitive information also includes architecture decisions about your database. After sensitive information is pushed to GitHub, you cannot remove it completely from the repository.
  • Have code that needs to be operationalized in Jupyter Notebooks.
  • Jupyter notebooks are wonderful for containing your analysis, code and figures in a single document, particularly for doing exploratory analysis. They are not good for keeping the code you will need for your pipeline or code that you will eventually want to turn into a library.

Virtual Environments#

A virtual environment solves the problem that projectX uses version 1.x of a package while projectY uses version 2.x of a package by keeping dependencies in different environments.

Install a virtualenv#

pip install --user virtualenv
virtualenv dssg-venv --no-site-packages #does not use any global packages

You can also install a virtual environment and specify the type of python interpreter you would like to use using the -p option. This is good for keeping Python2 and Python3 dependencies separate.


virtualenv dssg-py2-venv -p $(which python) --no-site-packages


virtualenv dssg-py3-venv -p $(which python3) --no-site-packages

Activate a virtualenv#

source ./dssg-venv/bin/activate

Install Dependencies#

pip install -r requirements.txt

Freeze Dependencies#

pip freeze > requirements.txt #outputs a list of dependencies and version numbers

Warning: pip freeze will output every package that was installed using pip or (setuptools). External dependencies that are from github or some other source not found on PyPi will appear but will not be found when trying to reinstall the dependencies. You can include github repositories from github in your requirements.txt file, you just have to do manual housekeeping. Other external dependencies and how to install them should be recorded in your file.

Note: There is also the conda environment created by Continuum Analytics. The conda environment handles creating a environment and package dependencies -- what the virtual environment + pip combination does. Conda, unlike pip, includes many non-python dependencies (e.g, MKL) as precompiled binaries that are necessary for scientific python packages. The author is currently of the opinion that if you are a beginner or using a dated OS then using a conda environment is not the worst of ideas. If you are a developer working on a development machine then compile things yourself -- an important and useful skill. Whatever path you choose be consistent about how you set up your environment and document it thoroughly.

Systems Level Dependencies#

Systems level dependencies are the libraries installed on your OS. For Ubuntu/Debian Linux you can get a list of them and then install them using the following:

#grab systems level dependencies
dpkg --get-selections > dependencies.txt
#reinstall on a new machine
dpkg --clear-selections
sudo dpkg --set-selections < dependencies.txt

Also courtesy of Tristan Crockett: installing a list of dependencies using apt

xargs -a <(awk '/^\s*[^#]/' dependencies.txt) -r -- sudo apt-get install

This will give every package installed on your OS. An easier alternative is to just keep track when you install a new library and manually keep the list in a dependencies.txt file.

There are also lightweight vitalization containers like Docker containers, Hyper-V images (Windows), or Ansible playbooks that can be used to "freeze" the systems level configuration of an OS.

Backup Your Database#

In PostGreSQL when a table is dropped, it is gone forever. You don't want to drop your results table on the last day of the fellowship, so it is a good idea to backup periodically.

To dump your database in PostGreSQL:

pg_dump -Fc --schema='raw|clean|models' -N '*public*' --no-acl -v -h <hostname> -U <dbuser> <dbname> > dssg-$(date +%F).dump
Note: This can be automated with a crontab script.

To restore your database from a dump:

< dump_file psql -U dbuser -h dbhost dbname

Hard-coded Paths#

Example of Adding Shapefile with hard-coded paths#

Hard-coded paths are absolute paths that are native to the machine you are using for development. It is unlikely someone else will keep their data in the exact same directory as you when trying to use your project in a separate environment. Users should be able to set location of files as command line parameters. Below are examples.

# Data downloaded from this website:
shp2pgsql -d -s 4267:2261 -d /mnt/data/syracuse/NY_geol_dd soil.geology | psql
Although this script documents the command that runs, it has a hard path and the purpose of the arguments are not clear. This script has the shelf-life of a banana.

# Data downloaded from this website:
new_projection=2261 #projection of Upstate NY

#create table and schema
psql -c "drop table if exists ${schema}.${table}"
psql -c "create schema if not exists ${schema}"
#import the data
shp2pgsql -d -s ${original_projection}:${new_projection} -d ${shapefile} ${schema}.${table} | psql
With this version someone can better surmise what is being done. Every time you want to load your data you have to change the filename in the script. It also checks if the table already exists in the database so the command can be used to reload data.

#ETL script for importing shape files.

PROGRAM=$(basename $0)
usage="${PROGRAM} -s schema -t table -p original_projection [-n new_projection] [-v] shapefilename"

function die() {
local errmsg="$1" errcode="${2:-1}"
echo "ERROR: ${errmsg}"
exit ${errcode}

#if called with no command line arguments then output usage
if [ ${#} -eq 0 ]
    echo ${usage}
    exit 1;

# process input arguments
while getopts hp:n:s:t:v OPT; do
case "${OPT}" in
h)  echo "${usage}";
exit 0
p)  original_projection="${OPTARG}"
n)  new_projection="${OPTARG}"
s)  schema="${OPTARG}"
t)  table="${OPTARG}"
v)  verbose="true"
?)  die "unknown option or missing argument; see -h for usage" 2
shift $((OPTIND - 1))

if [ ${verbose} == "true" ]
    echo 'original_projection:' $original_projection
    echo 'new_projection:' $new_projection
    echo 'schema:' $schema
    echo 'table:'$table
    echo 'shapefile:'$shapefile

#create table and schema
psql -c "drop table if exists ${schema}.${table}"
psql -c "create schema if not exists ${schema}"

#import the data
if [ -z "${new_projection}" ]
    shp2pgsql -s ${original_projection} -d ${shapefile} ${schema}.${table} | psql
    shp2pgsql -s ${original_projection}:${new_projection} -d ${shapefile} ${schema}.${table} | psql
In this version, you can call the script from the command line and use it for any shapefile. When called with no arguments it prints out a usage so the user does not have to look into the actual script. It also has a verbose mode for debugging. Here, there are no hard paths.

Bad Directory Organization#

├── 10_month_to_12_month_ISOMAP_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_final_asq_psolve_2r.png
├── 10_month_to_12_month_ISOMAP_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_time4_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 10_month_to_12_month_ISOMAP_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_whptile1.png
├── 10_month_to_12_month_LLE_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_final_asq_psolve_2r.png
├── 10_month_to_12_month_LLE_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_time4_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 10_month_to_12_month_LLE_final_asq_psocial_2r_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_final_asq_comm_2r_and_whptile1.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_ISOMAP_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_PREPGBMI_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_ISOMAP_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_PREPGBMI_and_whptile2.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_ISOMAP_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_time5_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_whptile2.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_ISOMAP_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_time5_DURATION_sum_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_LLE_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_PREPGBMI_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_LLE_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_PREPGBMI_and_whptile2.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_LLE_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_time5_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_whptile2.png
├── 12_month_to_14_month_LLE_momwtgain_and_birthgms2_and_time4_DURATION_sum_and_time5_DURATION_sum_and_time4_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 4_month_to_6_month_ISOMAP_final_asq_fmotor_1r_and_final_asq_psocial_1r_and_final_asq_gmotor_1r_and_final_asq_comm_1r_and_final_asq_psolve_1r.png
├── 4_month_to_6_month_ISOMAP_final_asq_fmotor_1r_and_final_asq_psocial_1r_and_final_asq_gmotor_1r_and_final_asq_comm_1r_and_time2_DURATION_sum.png
├── 4_month_to_6_month_LLE_final_asq_fmotor_1r_and_final_asq_psocial_1r_and_final_asq_gmotor_1r_and_final_asq_comm_1r_and_final_asq_psolve_1r.png
├── 4_month_to_6_month_LLE_final_asq_fmotor_1r_and_final_asq_psocial_1r_and_final_asq_gmotor_1r_and_final_asq_comm_1r_and_time2_DURATION_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_ISOMAP_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_birthgms2_and_momwtgain_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_ISOMAP_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_MomsAgeBirth_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_ISOMAP_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_momwtgain.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_ISOMAP_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_LLE_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_birthgms2_and_momwtgain_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_LLE_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_MomsAgeBirth_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_LLE_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_sum_and_momwtgain.png
├── 6_month_to_10_month_LLE_whptile1_and_time3_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time2_DURATION_sum_and_time3_DURATION_sum_and_time3_cumulative_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum.png
├── ada_all.yaml
├── ada_simple_SAMMER.yaml
├── Add_null_data.ipynb
├── all.yaml
├── assemble_long_data.ipynb
├── birth_to_4_month_ISOMAP_MomsAgeBirth_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_std_and_time1_DURATION_sum_and_momwtgain_and_birthgms2.png
├── birth_to_4_month_ISOMAP_MomsAgeBirth_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_std_and_time1_DURATION_sum_and_time1_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_sum.png
├── birth_to_4_month_LLE_MomsAgeBirth_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_std_and_time1_DURATION_sum_and_momwtgain_and_birthgms2.png
├── birth_to_4_month_LLE_MomsAgeBirth_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_std_and_time1_DURATION_sum_and_time1_DURATION_time_MATERNAL_sum_and_time1_DURATION_time_PERSHLTH_sum.png
├── BRL_file_generation.ipynb
├── classification.ipynb
├── classifier_t1-Copy0.ipynb
├── classifier_t1.ipynb
├── clique_feature_coprus.p
├── Clique_Features.ipynb
├── Clustering_Scoring.ipynb
├── convert_nfp_sas_to_csv.R
├── corpus.ipynb
├── cross_val.ipynb
├── dal_test.ipynb
├── data_cleaning.ipynb
├── data_creation_1.yaml
├── data_creation_2.yaml
├── data_creation_3.yaml
├── data_creation_4.yaml
├── data_creation_and_model_application_1.yaml
├── data_creation_and_model_application_2.yaml
├── data_creation_and_model_application_3.yaml
├── data_creation_and_model_application_4.yaml
├── data_creation_and_model_application.yaml
├── data_creation.yaml
├── data_visualization
├── data_wrangling
├── decision_tree.yaml
├── dropout
├── dropout_explore.ipynb
├── experiment.log
├── Feature Importance.ipynb
├── find_model.ipynb
├── #.gitignore#
├── graph
├── Histrogram_Feature_Creation.ipynb
├── how_to_merge.txt
├── Imputation.ipynb
├── impute
├── impute_and_filter-Copy0.ipynb
├── impute_and_filter-Copy1.ipynb
├── impute_and_filter.ipynb
├── I_S_O_M_A_P_ _m_o_m_w_t_g_a_i_n___a_n_d___b_i_r_t_h_g_m_s_2___a_n_d___t_i_m_e_4___D_U_R_A_T_I_O_N___s_u_m___a_n_d___P_R_E_P_G_B_M_I___a_n_d___t_i_m_e_4___D_U_R_A_T_I_O_N___t_i_m_e___M_A_T_E_R_N_A_L___s_u_m.png
├── Jeff_Models-Copy0.ipynb
├── Jeff_recipe.txt
├── #KMS.txt#
├── KMS.txt
├── legend.html
├── media
├── meta_data
├── metr
├── metrics_r_f_d.p
├── metrics_will_drop.p
├── model_pipeline_2-Copy0.ipynb
├── model_pipeline_2.ipynb
├── model_run_rf.txt
├── models
├── model_without_pca.yaml
├── model_with_pca.yaml
├── model.yaml
├── nbstripout
├── N_Features.ipynb
├── nfp2-public
├── nfpt2.tree
├── notes
├── out
├── out.txt
├── paralllel_coordinates.ipynb
├── pickle_files
├── pipeline
├── PipeLine_Phase1.ipynb
├── plot.yaml
├── Precision-Recall_curve_across_all_intervals.png
├── prediction_set_maker-Copy0.ipynb
├── prediction_set_maker-Copy1.ipynb
├── prediction_set_maker_for_dropout.ipynb
├── prediction_set_maker.ipynb
├── Prep for R.ipynb
├── project-pipeline.dia
├── pyensemble
├── #pyliny_report.txt#
├── pyliny_report.txt
├── Rafael_weeks.ipynb
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_1.png
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_2.png
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_3.png
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_4.png
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_5.png
├── RandomForestClassifier_on_interval_6.png
├── R_code
├── Receiver_operating_characteristic_curve_across_all_intervals.png
├── results_pipeline2-Copy0.ipynb
├── results_pipeline2.html
├── results_pipeline2.ipynb
├── roc_auc_score_across_all_intervals.png
├── rollin_visit.ipynb
├── sanity_check_pipeline.ipynb
├── sanity_check_Rafael_pipeline.ipynb
├── sarah_a.ipynb
├── Secondary_feature_gen.ipynb
├── Secondary_feature_gen-Rafael-Copy0.ipynb
├── Secondary_feature_gen-Rafael.ipynb
├── secondary_features.ipynb
├── secondary_features_on_visit_data.ipynb
├── see_test_model_results.ipynb
├── sklearn_DT.yaml
├── sklearn.yaml
├── sklearn.yaml_bk
├── Slicer-Copy0.ipynb
├── Slicer.ipynb
├── summary_statistics.ipynb
├── temporal_data_creation_bk.ipynb
├── temporal_data_creation.ipynb
├── test.d
├── testing_fiber_2_split.p
├── test_model.ipynb
├── time_based_cross_validation-Rafael.ipynb
├── time_cv_impute.ipynb
├── Timeline_Help.ipynb
├── Untitled0.ipynb
├── Untitled1.ipynb
├── Untitled2.ipynb
├── Untitled3.ipynb
├── Untitled4.ipynb
├── Untitled5.ipynb
├── Untitled6.ipynb
├── Untitled7.ipynb
├── utils
├── Weka.ipynb

Good Directory Organization#

├── config
├── descriptive_stats
│   ├── mains_streets_stats
│   └── water_work_orders
├── etl
│   ├── bin
│   ├── geology
│   ├── road_ratings
│   ├── soil
│   ├── street_line_data
│   ├── tax_data
│   ├── updated_main_data
│   ├── waterorders
│   └── water_system
├── model
│   ├── config
│   ├── features
│   └── log
├── models_evaluation
└── results
    └── figures

Additional Resources/Inspiration for this Tutorial#