Run Some Test Problems

There are many ways to test the performance of neural networks. Sadly, neurosynchro does not currently provide much infrastructure for running such tests — this is an area for improvement. At the moment, the most prominent tools are the reports of mean squared error (MSE) and residual plots that you get from the neurosynchro train command.

However neurosynchro does include a tool that will use grtrans to do full radiative transfer integrations with both precisely-calculated and approximated coefficients, so that you can check its performance in an end-to-end example.


Unfortunately, in its current state, grtrans is really difficult to install in a useful way … and due to this situation, we don’t distribute any canned test problems. We can’t recommend this testing strategy for any but the hardest-core users. You might want to skip ahead to learn about how to use your networks in your application.

To run these tests, the grtrans Python module radtrans_integrate must be importable in your Python setup. Unfortunately, grtrans does not provide a standard installation path, so it can be a bit of a hassle to make this module available. You will know that things are working when the following command runs without printing any error messages:

$ python -c 'import radtrans_integrate'

Detailed instructions on how to install grtrans properly are beyond the scope of this manual.

Once grtrans has been installed, you need to create a test data set, as described below. Then a command like this will run the comparison:

$ neurosynchro test-grtrans . testproblem.txt

Here is example output for a test problem prepared for the tutorial neural networks, trained on a power-law electron distribution:

Using Theano backend.
Precise computation: I=2.1134e-08  Q=-2.6238e-10  U=-1.6681e-09  V=4.4779e-09  calc_time=103937 ms
WARNING: some of the approximations were out-of-sample
Approx. computation: I=2.1151e-08  Q=-3.0201e-10  U=-1.6711e-09  V=4.4855e-09  calc_time=234 ms
Accuracy: I=0.001  Q=0.151  U=0.002  V=0.002
Speedup: 444.5

Generating data for a test problem

The format of the test data file is an expanded version of the one used for the training data. As with the training data, the data should come in a line-oriented text file with several tab-separated columns and a header line, with input, output, and metadata parameters indicated as with the training data.

Given such a file, the test tool runs a radiative transfer integration along a single ray, where each row in the test data file gives a sample of these coefficients as they change along the ray.

To compute the “right answer”, the testing tool performs a radiative transfer integration using the coefficients exactly as they are given in your file. Therefore the test file must contain columns for the standard suite of eight output parameters: (j_I, alpha_I, j_Q, alpha_Q, j_V, alpha_V, rho_Q, rho_V), computed at the reference frequency and density as described for the training data.

Four extra columns are also needed to put everything on the physical footing used by grtrans:

This is the distance along the ray path of each sample point, measured in cm. These values should start at zero and increase monotonically along each row of the file.
This is the projected angle between some invariant Stokes U axis and the magnetic field, measured in radians. These values can just be zero if you don’t care about having a magnetic field whose direction rotates on the sky. This parameter is used to map from the local linear polarization frame (in which the Stokes U coefficients are always aligned with the magnetic field and hence are always zero) to the observer frame.
This is the local density of synchrotron-emitting electrons, in cm -3.
This is how much time it took to do the precise calculation of the RT coefficients for this row, in milliseconds. This column is only used to determine how much faster neurosynchro was compared to the detailed calculation. You can set it to zero if you don’t collect this information.

It is not necessary to choose realistic values for these parameters — the point of the testing is to just compare the precise and approximated results. But if you provide realistic values, the integration should give realistic results.

To compute the approximated result, the test tool will load up the specified neural network and make predictions based on the input parameters listed in your file. You must have parameters named s, for the local harmonic number, and theta, for the angle between the line-of-sight and the local magnetic field (measured in radians). The RT integration is performed at a fixed observing frequency, which means that the local magnetic field strength B is defined implicitly by the ratio of s and that frequency.

Note that the goal here is to assess the real-world impact of approximation errors — not necessarily to test the grtrans integrator in challenging circumstances. When generating your test data sets, there’s no particular need to explore unusual corners of parameter space unless you expect them to arise in your science application.

Next: use your networks in your application!