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Experience with the program 'Gaussfit'

  1. May 18, 2008 #1
    Does anyone have any experience with the program 'Gaussfit'
    I am writing a code, but get a lot of problems and there is minimal help from the authors website. Could anyone suggest another place to gain troubleshooting knowledge?
    Original website : http://clyde.as.utexas.edu/Gaussfit.html
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2008 #2


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    I feel your pain! Most software written by and for astronomers is pretty horrible code, poorly commented and documented. I've used a number of other astronomy codes, but unfortunately not that particular one so I can't give you specific advice.

    More generally though google searches can be surprisingly helpful for this sometimes. The most specific phrase may well pick something up. It really depends on what your problems are, they may be more to do with general problems that might have solutions in general developers forums rather than anything specific to that code or astronomy. If you give some more details about what problems you are having that might be useful. Remember there is also a coding sub-forum here that could be useful.

    If it is more to do with the actually calculations in the code (as opposed to problems compiling, linking etc) then it's harder as there is not likely to be a lot on the web for the specific issues. It might mean that you need to really read through the code get an understand of it right from the bare bones. I've had to effectively retro write my own documentation for codes in the past that didn't come with any, based solely on reading the code itself. This is not as fun as it sounds, but can be a useful process as you really have a chance to understand how it all works and maybe pick up some neat coding tricks as well.

    Of course it depends how good your coding knowledge is. If you don't really know C and there's no documentation you're probably in some trouble. In this case either learn better C (good to do anyway) or you might have to ask the authors some questions. In this case though it pays to be as specific as possible, it's not likely they will answer an email saying 'how do you use your code?', you'd really need to say what you've tried and the specific issues you're having.

    Are you doing this for a University project? If so you must have a supervisor (or advisor depending on what continent you are on) that should be able to help. Don't be afraid to ask silly questions, it's better than wasting time on a problem you can't solve!

    Edit: One more thing I forgot to mention, there is a forum http://cosmocoffee.info/" [Broken] that has a section for discussing problems with astronomy codes. It is mainly a cosmology site and the codes discussed are generally cosmology, rather than astronomy, related but it might be a good place to ask for help none the less as it is frequented by professional astronomers only, so there is a good chance that someone has used this code. Again though, you will have to be more specific about the problems you are having to get meaningful help.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  4. May 20, 2008 #3
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my post!
    Yes this is for an MSc, but the code is new to both myself and my supervisor so I am in a pickle.
    My coding knowledge is suffice but I will not have time to work through the whole code methinks.
    That website you suggested seems pretty daunting with having to use ones proper name etc. But I will try my luck with it none the less.
    I have emailed the authors of the code in the past with a specific error message, but they took me as bit of a toy, so I might outline my problem in full to show that I am seriously working forward to a goal.
    So thanks Wallace I will update you when possible
  5. May 25, 2008 #4
    I have read some posts on the Coffee cosmo forum, it seems very elitist to say the least. Do you think they would be very helpful?
  6. May 25, 2008 #5


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    CosmoCoffee is intended to be (and is) a forum for professional cosmologists and astronomers only (and students of course! just not the general public). I guess then by comparison to PF it is 'elitist' but I have found people to be very polite and helpful, at least in the computer code section. I've asked some very basic questions about cosmology codes there in the past and have gotten very useful help.
  7. May 25, 2008 #6
    Ok, I will give it a shot. Having some trouble with registration but it should sort itself out. Thanks again for your help Wallace
  8. May 25, 2008 #7
    What are you trying to fit? IDL has many curve fitting packages, actually one called gaussfit, and a free external package MPFIT by Craig Markwardt is pretty easy to use at least for 1d stuff. I've never tried 2d fits, but I know it can handle them, and its easy to code up a 2d gaussian. Just a suggestion. . .
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