Yesterday I had my first date with a SYNAPT™ from Waters. A workgroup from the biocentrum bought one, this week it was delivered.
So what’s a SYNAPT™? I would say it’s actually the cream of the crop of mass spectrometry platforms. It primarily differs from other platform in the feature of separation in terms of ion mobility.
Common platforms like QTof’s might distinguish between two peptides based on their mass, so they are separated in an Quadrupole, their mass over charge (m/z) is afterwards measured by their TOF. But there is a challenge with isobars. Since they have the same mass you’ll only get one peak for all of them. You are not able to differentiate between different elementary compositions with equal masses.
Waters now brings light to the dark. They developed a very new dimension of discovery. Their Triwave™ Technology allows you to dissolve different shapes of ions with equally mass. Actually I can’t tell you how it works, but take two sheets of paper, crush one of it and throw both out of your window. You see, there are some physics that let one of these papers reach the ground faster than the other one. With the SYNAPT™ you are able to distinguish between elements in your sample based on their shape.
With the upstream UPLC a species gives a peak in an spectrum, specified by retention time, m/z, shape and intensity. A new challenge to analyze and evaluate the resulting data.
(Fortunately) there was a small problem with the machine, so I was able to take a look inside. It was amazing to see the guts of this big box, stuffed with filigree technique!!
I think I felt in love with this machine.. Bad news for my wife, but that’s life ;-)
Independent of your programming experiences, you should have learned that regular expressions are more or less write-only.
Write-only? What is he talking about!? Actually I revisited some Perl code with a relatively short reg-ex. Do you think I was able to understand what I’ve thought when I created that piece of code? Not in the slightest!
But there is a smart modifier, that enables you to comment your regular expressions: x.
/x all white-spaces are ignored and with an unescaped
# the rest of the line is treated as a comment. I found a nice example, what do you think is this expression for:
So you see, it’s really helpful to use the x-modifier. At least for your own understanding :-P
A bit more explanation can be found on Perl.com.
To talk to R through Java you have to specify three more environmental variables. First of all you need to publish you R installation path, my R is found in
If you didn’t or the path is wrong you’ll fall into trouble:
$CLASSPATH needs to get an update. Precisely you have to add the archives
REngine.jar . In my case all of them can be found in
/usr/lib/R/site-library/rJava/jri/ , so the
$CLASSPATH should be set like that:
$CLASSPATH isn’t defined correctly you won’t be able to compile your Java code.
Last but not least you have to add the native JRI-library to your
$LD_LIBRARY_PATH , by default this lib is located in the same directory like the jar’s:
$LD_LIBRARY_PATH isn’t proper you’ll experience errors like this:
To not always do the same you might write these export stuff to your
Of course in Eclipse you’ll also have to define these three things.
Where are the jar’s located? Add them to your libraries in Project > Properties > Java Build Path > Libraries.
Instead of the
$LD_LIBRARY_PATH you can set the
java.library.path in Run > Run Configurations > Arguments. Add
-Djava.library.path=.:/usr/lib/R/site-library/rJava/jri/ to the VM arguments (modify the path to match your criteria).
R_HOME can be published in Run > Run Configurations > Environment. Create a new variable with the name
R_HOME and the value
/usr/lib64/R (or an equivalent path).
That’s it, see the section above to identify what went wrong if something fails.
Two of these three parts are also straight forward in Netbeans.
First publish the location of the jar’s. Right-click on your project and choose Properties > Libraries. In the Compile-tab click Add JAR/Folder and search for the jar files.
Next task is to adjust the library-path. Right-click on your project and choose Properties > Run. Add
-Djava.library.path=.:/usr/lib/R/site-library/rJava/jri/ to the VM Options (modify the path to match your criteria).
The third step is a little tricky. As far as I know there is no way to change the environment from within Netbeans, so you can’t create the variable
R_HOME after Netbeans is started. In my opinion you have two options:
- Export the variable before starting Netbeans:
you might want to write a wrapper script that does this step for you, or include the export in any of the resource files that are called before Netbeans starts (e.g. your
- Change the environment from within your project. At stackoverflow you can find a workaround, but I think this is a very lousy solution..
If you defined your environment properly, you should be able to utilize the REngine. I have a small script for you to test whether all things are fine:
You should be able to compile and run it, afterwards you’ll see a random number from an uniform distribution. Congratulations, well done :-P
I have bad news for those of you trying to produce lucid code!
In his blog Radford M. Neal, Professor at the University of Toronto, published an article with the headline Two Surprising Things about R. He worked out, that parentheses in mathematical expression slow down the run-time dramatically! In contrast it seems to be less time consuming to use curly brackets. I verified these circumstances to be true:
As you can see adding extra parentheses is not really intelligent concerning run-time, and not in a negligible way. This fact shocked me, because I always tried to group expressions to increase the readability of my code! Using curly brackets speeds up the execution in comparison to parentheses. Both observations are also surprising to me! So the conclusion is: Try to avoid redundant parentheses and/or brackets!
To learn more about the why you are referred to his article. He also found a interesting observation about squares. In a further article he presents some patches to speed up R.
Ok, R is very well-considered in certain respects, but there are also some things annoying me… This time it’s scoping…
Let’s have a look to the following code:
First it looks damn unspectacular. But wait, whats that:
Taking a closer look to the function shows that the returned value is randomly chosen from local (
runif(1) > .5 ) or global scope (
runif(1) <= .5 ). So you can’t expect a result from this function. Nasty, especially while debugging external code, isn’t it? :-)
So again my advise: Think about such specific features! This won’t happen in any sensible language…