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Bugfix Update

27 July 2014

A bugfix release is out. This should resolve most outstanding issues and makes way for the big refactor release.


Note that almost all activity on this project is now over at github. Issues on git hub is the correct way to raise any issues.

Bug Fixes, workarounds and refactors

14th May 2013

I know it has been a long time coming. But finally we have a major bugfix release. Not everything is fixed and there is a workaround for the last remaining major bug. Also due to complications sorting out these bugs I am now going rewrite this section of code.

Workarounds for -es and -ej

In the case that there -es and -ej options for the same instant in time, there are bugs. These are not easily fixed however since in theory there can be an unlimited number of these options at the same time instant. A full fix requires a code restructure.

But we can work around this bug. Simply move all the -ej options one generation past-ward and everything should work fine.


Because of this and how long it has taken to find and fix the last set of bugs. I will refactor this section of code. This is a bit of work and will mean all new bugs will be considered for the refactor. I expect this to take approximately 4 weeks.

Important bug-fix release

3rd Dec 2012

Two serious bugs have been discovered and corrected. The selection strength was not getting set correctly in some cases. I hope this does not affect to many users. However if you are using a lot of -ej and -es options you should assume that it does and verify results don't change. Note that if you did use these options you have good odds that this bug won't affect you. But I can't be sure and hence checking to be safe is needed.

I am of course very sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Large Organizational Changes

Aug 3rd 2012

Due to many reasons, such as conferences and job interview and even more users. I am changing the way I organize this project significantly. This is mainly due to the fact that organizing the bug fixes and feature requests does not work well with just email. Also we will be getting an extra developer on board soon and we have already had a few patches submitted. So I am going the whole hog and moving bugs, features and collaborations (source level) all over to github.

What this means is that if you find a bug, or you think you have found one, you will need to go to the issues page. You need a github login, a necessary evil due to the massive amounts of spam received otherwise, and then check to see if the relevant bug has already been submitted. If not create a new issue and tag it as a bug. You can also raise enhancements, documentation issues or even plain old questions. However when submitting a bug i ask that you always include the first few lines of the msms output and/or the command line you used.

I do realize that this is less convenient that just sending me an email. Unfortunately that model is just not working anymore. I hope this will make things much quicker to fix and less time to communicate the fixes and changes. In particular it should make it much easier to see what affects the most people.

General bug fixes

Most of the bugs reported where all related and should now be fixed. The most serious was the soft sweeps when there should be hard sweeps. The largest part of that problem should now be fixed. However please note that when selection is very strong and the sweep very short, the basic assumptions of the coalescent will break down. This can still result, although very rarely, in a softsweep.

If you think your bug is not fixed or something I was going to put in was not, then please raise the issue in github. Raise an Issue

Not Dead

June 29th 2012

It may look like a long time with little activity. I assure you that this not the case. I just have not been so good at keeping the web page up to date. It is a good idea to check the downloads page, as this is automagically updated for each new version. You can use the -version switch to check to see what version you have.

There have been quite a few smaller changes and bugfixes but also some bigger fixes. We finally have a git repo and will be moving everything over to git hub in time. The github page is https://github.com/delt0r/msms.

More updates

Dec 19th 2011

Another update that fixes some bugs. In some cases there was a problem with complicated models using the -SI switch that is now fixed. Generally this would not produce incorrect results, but would rather throw an error (aka crash). However best to be on the safe side and update.

We also have a serial or time samples support included but as a beta feature. It will only work with -SI selection not -SF. It is the -IT switch that you can get help with -h.

Note that generally bug fixes won't affect most people. That is if its simulating something wrong, it generally only affects some special cases, for example the -Smark switch found previously. All neutral markers where still correct.

Smark fixes

Dec 9th 2011

It may look like there has not been much going on. I assure you this is not the case. Other than going to some bigger meetings this year to get the word out about msms. Progress out back has been steady.

Quite a lot more options have been added and preparations for future features have been made. Many minor bug fixes have been done and some fringe cases fixed. In particular the case were people are using the -Smark option to observe the selected allele has had some issues that should mostly be resolved. However there is still the case where the coalescent tree at the selected site has a MRCA before any selection happens. In this case the -Smark option still gives incorrect results.

Also added is a -version option to make tracking the version you are ruining easier. I have a pretty fine grain build number, so it will jump a few counts every release.

Documentation at this point is lagging the code a bit. The -h option is the best way to get started with new switches for now. Hopefully we can get a expanded manual out early next year.

I have had some issues with the mailing list recently. Mostly my emails didn't seem to go out. This should now fixed.

Minor fixes

May 16th 2011

Title says it all. Also there is a updated manual. It is not fully updated yet so please also use the -h option for the most up to date info. The maual is still a "beta".

Minor fixes and other news

Feb 8th 2011

A minor update was released today. This does not affect most people as the biggest changes have been made behind the scenes. A few bugs have been fixed, all minor and a few performance improvements for special cases has been added. Now even on many core systems the -threads option is closer to ideal performance. So if you have a 16 core or more machine, its easier than ever to use it.

Unfortunately there is a performance issue with large numbers of samples. I am working on this now. However this does not affect anyone using less than about 100 samples and medium to high recombination rates.

Coming Soon

ABC estimation and stochastic maximum likelihood.

Important update

December 7 2010

This is an important update. There was a few bug in the forward simulation code that was very difficult to find. This represents much of the work I have done for the last month. However I do believe that this is now fixed.

The question is, did this bug affect the output results? This is hard to say for certain. Since in fact the bug was a number of subtle errors that interacted only under rather specific conditions, most people should not be affected. Furthermore if you use the -SF you can't be affected. Even if you are I would expect the errors to be very small if any. Triggering the bug should cause the program to crash rather than give wrong results.

In order to fix the errors I have rewritten parts of the forward simulation code. This section of code is expected to get a even bigger revamp early next year when multiple selected loci are added. The missing feature right now is that it will often not warn you when you have some command line options that don't make much sense. For example not specifying -SI or -SF or not giving an error when you use the -SF option with a model that's not time invariant. This will be fixed shortly.

Other than this set of bugs in the forward code, a number of minor bugs have also been fixed. In particular some of the new command line processing code had a few omissions and errors. These have been fixed. This would not lead to incorrect output as the program would report an error condition.

Please update to this version. The old 1.2.1 version is now considered past its best before date.

Note that an updated manual is coming soon as well as msmsABC. Watch this space.

Release Candidate

October 21 2010

Some big changes have made it into this release. So many that it is a release candidate to indicate that that perhaps there could be a regression on some things. If you notice some differences please compare with the old version and report it.

The biggest change does not affect end users so much. I have completely rewritten the command line parsing code with my own code. This means that I can remove the args4j dependency and have more control over the parsing. Most importantly I can give better error messages regarding command line typos. This should make it easier to learn the command line. The changes make the way for big improvements to the current help as well.

This change also should improve performance just a little. It was also needed for the upcoming msmsABC that is currently in progress. And its now much easier to add new options. So you will see the benefit via easier to expand functionality.

Options with "tbs" now supported

We now fully support the "tbs" (to be specified) option as per ms. this permits options to be provided by way of the standard input. Quite a few R scripts and some ABC frameworks have used this feature in ms. Well now you can with msms. I think that with this option you now have 100% compatibility with ms.

Multi thread support

If you are on a machine with many cores, you can now use them without starting msms many times. The -threads n option will run the simulation with n threads. Note that this is not as fast as just running the program n times. However it is often more convenient.

If your simulations are already very fast it is unlikely you will see a large performance increases using extra threads. However on simulations with high levels of recombination, you get almost linear speed up.

You can also use "tbs" options with the thread option. However this has more overhead and could even be slower with fast simulations.

One thing to remember is that memory usage goes up with the number of threads. So 2 threads uses approximately twice as much memory as 1.


August 29 2010

A new release is now up. There are a few changes and improvements as well as a few more compatibility improvements with ms.

The first major improvement is that condition on the number of segregating sites now works. This is the -s option in ms and I simply forgot to put it in. Using the -s option will tend to use more memory and be a little slower. This trend will get worse with deeper highly recombinant trees. However its not a huge difference in most cases of interest.

The next big improvement is the addition of more boundary conditions. That is you can now set the frequency at a particular time or in a particular deme rather than just fixation time. This option is just the old -SF option with more arguments. As an example, we want to condition on the frequency in deme 1 to be 0.5 at a time of 0.01 pastward:
msms -ms 20 1000 -s 100 -SAA 1000 -SaA 500 -N 10000 -SF 0.01 1 0.5
If I want to condition on the total frequency of the beneficial allele in all demes at sampling time to be 0.8 I would use the following:
msms -ms 20 1000 -s 100 -SAA 1000 -SaA 500 -N 10000 -SF 0 0.5
So the form is -SF fixationTime for a the fixation time. -SF time freq to condition on a frequency or -SF time deme freq for the frequency in a given deme.

Another thing that has changed is the first line of output is now the full command line. Note that for some ms parsing tools you will need to be careful to use msms options last. We also now have a -seed switch and we write out the seed value on the second line. This is a 64 bit number so we used hex. But the -seed option can use hex(prepend with "0x") or decimal.

Unfortunately none of the new improvements have made it into the manual yet. This is next along with some more examples.

Finally some mac users had problems downloading new versions because Firefox cached the download. To avoid this problem we will now include the version number in the link and file names.

Coming improvements

August 24 2010

Despite the lack of "news" there has been plenty going on behind the scenes. I have added some links to the mailing lists and forums with the getting help page in the menu. We are working on an ABC mode for msms that integrates with the ABCtoolkit. There are some other new features coming soon for summary statistics output that make using msms in a pipeline much easier. This is just some of the things that are "coming soon".

Accepted Publication

June 15 2010, updated July 1st.

The manuscript has been accepted in Bioinformatics. The link to the application note is here.

We have added some performance comparisons to the manual against ms and against itself with and without selection. Generally speaking msms is much faster for high recombination rates even with neutral models.

Also some mailing lists have been set up, we encourage all uses to subscribe to the news list. The other lists can be found here. The main sourceforge page is can be found here and there are forums available for help.

Fixes and Tests

May 5 2010

There were some minor bugs that have been fixed. These resulted in lockups in odd situations. Also, some more internal rescaling was fixed to be more consistent.

Finally, some simple tests were added. These tests compare mean and variance of tree length, tree height and segregating sites statistics with known correct values. I have found that these statistics are quite discriminating when it comes to finding bugs. Currently we are comparing test vectors with ms, however other programs such as SFSCode will be used for test vectors in the near future.

Please notice that these tests are statistical in nature. Thus, we expect it to fail on occasion by chance alone. Inspect the values displayed in the output and rerun the tests. Generally different tests should fail each time, or none at all. Remember this is compounded by the multiple test problem. That is each test vector results in 6 tests. So even with just 7 test vectors, we have a total of 42 tests. Hence, a p value of 0.05 would result in 2 failures each time. In this case, we simply choose a threshold that's good for discovering bugs while not failing every time.

In order to run the test, under Mac and Linux, there is a simpleTests script in the bin directory. Under windows use the following command line:
java -cp lib\msms.jar at.mabs.testing.BasicTests

More of the same

March 23 2010

There was a regression in the recombination code when using selection. Please update to the latest version.


March 21 2010

A new version has been released today. This is a bug fix release, and it fixes some internal scaling issues when selection is used. I do believe this will not affected results much, the error should be second order only at worst and would only show up with very small population sizes and very small selection parameters.

However fixing this scaling means that I needed to add a lot of 2's to the code base. I have double checked everything and expanded my tests to catch errors. I did not find any. But code has a habit of hiding bugs well. So if something changes a lot between this version and the last, I probably missed a 2 somewhere.

Final Release Candidate

March 9 2010

Today the final version 1.0rc release candidate is available. This should be more stable and even a little faster than previous releases. We also have the prepacked archive for easier installation with a Mac, Linux and Windows launcher. Note you will need to have at least java version 1.6 (some times called 6) as per previous versions. This can be a little tricky for Macs, however we hope the instructions on this web page and in the manual are clear enough.

Assuming no big changes need to be made, this should roll over to a full version 1.0 with a public git repository and full developer documentation in a few weeks. Please report all bugs both in the application and documentation and even in the web site. But please note my comments about the site below

What I really want is a fairly easy Content Management System for the web site that would include a few extras from what we have right now. For example, a mailing list, a wiki and forums would be nice. Suggestion are welcome. Note that googgle source is nice, but lacks git support. Sorceforge has serious issues with its very kludgy forums, and last I checked they don't offer a full CMS and wiki.

In the mean time I will probably set up a google groups just for the email list. Feedback is welcome.

Release day is coming

March 4 2010

With only days away till the version 1.0rc release, things are happening pretty fast. All user documentation will be done. However, some of the developer documentation will still need some work. At this stage, this is the web site we shall use which is all about very low maintenance. But if need be, we will migrate to a wiki based site. Mailing lists shall be set up shortly.

Current plan

The current plan is to release a version 1 release candidate by March 10th. This would also be a clean slate on the git public repository. The license will most likely be GPL 3, but I am double checking with one or two of the packages that I use. In particular, I use args4j which uses an Apache type license. I don't think this will cause problems as I have not modified args4j in anyway.

The documentation will also be released at the same time.