[NeXus-committee] VOTE: Extensions to NeXus proposed by synchrotron workshops

Ray Osborn ROsborn at anl.gov
Mon Aug 9 21:00:10 BST 2010

I have started to make a few comments on these proposals in the  
discussion pages on the wiki. Although I think they all have merit, I  
am a little concerned that the proposals are sufficiently major that  
we should really put this off until the NeXus meeting in October. I  
think there needs to be some serious thought about whether there are  
side-effects to some of these proposals that need to be thought  
through first. For example, the NXmeasurement proposal seems to  
combine aspects of the NXinstrument groups, which already have an  
NXpositioner class, and the NXdata groups, which would normally be  
expected to contain image data. The idea seems to be that we should  
just create a container and dump whatever we like into it, but do we  
know what we are voting for? There appear to be three new class  
definitions contained within the NXmeasurement, but there is no  
description of them (unless they have already been approved but are  
not described on the wiki). Unless there is a much more detailed  
online debate on the wiki, I can't see how we can vote with a full  
appreciation of the issues they raise.

I suspect that all of these will be approved in some form, but I think  
we need to see some use cases and more precise definitions of what we  
are voting on. Is there a reason why this can't wait until October?


On Jul 23, 2010, at 8:54 AM, <freddie.akeroyd at stfc.ac.uk> <freddie.akeroyd at stfc.ac.uk 
 > wrote:

> Dear NIAC committee member,
> Following two workshops concerning the application of NeXus at
> synchrotron sources (see
> http://lists.nexusformat.org/pipermail/nexus/2010/000401.html)
> suggestions were made for extensions to NeXus to make it easier to
> represent such data. These suggestions cover the areas:
> 1) Proposed addition of NXsubentry
> 2) Scaled data
> 3) Coordinate system
> 4) NXmeasurement
> Please read the attached document from Mark Koennecke which provides
> more details about the proposal and send me your vote (YES/NO/ABSTAIN)
> for the above four point by 12th August. If you require any
> clarification or further explanation of the proposals, please either  
> add
> a comment to the appropriate wiki discussion page:
> http://www.nexusformat.org/Multi_Method_Instruments
> http://www.nexusformat.org/Scaled_Data
> http://www.nexusformat.org/Extension_of_NeXus_Coordinate_Systems
> http://www.nexusformat.org/NXmeasurement
> or send an email to nexus at nexusformat.org
> Thank you
> Freddie Akeroyd
> NIAC secretary
> -- 
> Scanned by iCritical.
> Hi,
> as most of you know we had two workshops concerning dataformats and
> synchrotrons in the last few months. Namely the workshop on HDF5 as
> hyperspectral dataformat at ESRF and the NeXus for Synchrotrons  
> Workshop
> at PSI. These workshops resulted in several suggestions for  
> extensions to
> Nexus which are now up for vote. In short these are four  
> suggestions. Please
> use this list for votes, and the rest of the e-mail for explanations.
> 1) Introduce NXsubentry
> 2) Introduce scaled data
> 3) Extend NeXus axis definitions to be more precise
> 4) NXmeasurement
> NXsubentry
> ----------
> Add to NXentry a new class named NXsubentry which has the same  
> structure
> as NXentry. Each NXsubentry is to hold the data or links thereto of  
> a single
> application definition in a  multi method instrument.
> === The Reasoning===
> Synchrotron beamlines often utilise several different detectors and  
> detector
> types in order to combine multiple techniques in simultaneous  
> measurements.
> NeXus currently asks for separate NXentry groups to be written for  
> each
> technique. This is good if one measurement is written to a file.  
> However,
> there is a second requirement that multiple scans, multiple  
> measurements,
> possibly a whole log of an experimental session is written to one  
> NeXus file.
> Then having different techniques in different NXentries will make  
> the files
> difficult to understand as the relationshipbetween different  
> measurements
> is lost.  Thus, in order to keep the data from these multiple  
> techniques
> together, it is desirable to have the ability to write it all into a  
> single
> NXentry in a NeXus. The current NeXus application definitions refer  
> to the
> same names and paths and so there are many name collisions when  
> trying to
> satisfy two application definitions in one NXentry in a file. The  
> ability
> to combine application definitions could be enabled by modifying the
> application definitions to refer to new and separate groups inside  
> the main
> NXentry of the NeXus file that refer to the particular application/ 
> technique
> name and which contains all of the data (or links to it) that is  
> relevant
> to that application/technique. For an example experiment that involves
> a combination of SAS and Fluorescence, the proposed NeXus structure  
> could
> look like:
> entry:NXentry/
>  definition = "NXSas, NXFluo"
>  user:NXuser/
>  sample:NXsamle/
>  instrument:NXinstument/
>    SASdet:NXdetector/
>    fancyname:NXdetector/
>    fancyname2:NXdetector/
>    ...
>  SAS:NXsubentry/
>    definition = "NXSas"
>    instrument:NXinstrument/
>      detector:link to SASdet
>    data:NXdata/
>  Fluo:NXsubentry/
>    definition = "NXFluo"
>    instrument:NXinstrument/
>      detector:link to fancyname
>      detector2:link to fancyname2
>    data:NXdata/
> In the above NeXus tree, the entire beamline state could be stored in
> entry/instrument and then any subset of this that is relevant to the  
> SAS or
> Fluorescence techniques would then be linked within the entry/SAS/ 
> instrument
> and the entry/Fluo/instrument groups as defined by the current  
> application
> definitions with a minor change in the hierarchy. The advantages of  
> this
> approach are:
> * Only minor changes from current practice.
> * The only name collisions to worry about are the names of the
> applications/techniques themselves.
> * Application definitions need not be concerned with the names and  
> paths that
> other application definitions proscribe.
> * The paths for each application remains well defined and an  
> analysis program
> for either technique can find the relevant data without having to  
> understand
> the other techniques present in the file. Further, the same analysis  
> programs
> can read the multi-technique files in the same way (i.e. with the  
> same code)
> exactly the same as they read single-technique files.
> * A user inspecting the data manually can find all the relevant  
> information for
>  a particular analysis in the one group and so doesn't need to  
> understand the
>  entire beamline.
> One drawback of this approach is that the beamline staff would have  
> to define
> many links when configuring the data acquisition software. However,  
> this is
> necessary work regardless of how the data is saved since the user  
> must be
> informed of how the different instrument components and detectors  
> relate to
> the various analyses anyway. In fact, NeXus and the above proposal  
> simplifies
> this task by clearly documenting in a formal manner where the relevant
> information can be read.
> Another use of NXsubentry is the retrofitting of existing non  
> compliant NeXus
> files with NXsubentries complying to an application definition.
> Scaled Data
> ------------
> NeXus STRONGLY suggests to store data as arrays of physical values  
> in C
> storage order. However, for cases where this is not possible or  
> would cause
> an efficiency concern when writing allow to store raw data. Such  
> data must
> be annotated with additional attributes as described below in order  
> to allow
> reading software to reconstruct the true physical value.
> ==The Reasoning==
> The data rates possible at synchrotron facilities and the new pixel  
> detectors
> test current computing technology to their limits. There may not be  
> enough
> time to scale or convert data on the fly before writing to disk. In  
> some
> occasions significant space savings can be obtained by storing data  
> as short
> integers and scaling them to the desired floating point values.
> In the formulas below
> Vtrue denotes the true value of the data item, Vraw the one which is  
> stored
> in the data element on file. The attributes are:
> * transform: This is the indicator that a transformation of the Vraw  
> data is
>   necessary. Transform can have one the following values:
> ** offset: Vtrue = Vraw + offset
> ** scaling: Vtrue = Vraw * scaling
> ** scaling_offset: both an offset and scaling is applied.
>   Vtrue = Vraw*scaling + offset
> ** sqrt_scaled: Vtrue = (Vraw/scaling)*(Vraw/scaling)
> ** logarithmic_scaled: Vtrue = (Vraw/scaling)**10
> ** polynomial: Vtrue = p1 + p2*Vraw + p3*Vraw*Vraw +  
> p4*Vraw*Vraw*Vraw ....
> * offset:  The offset to apply
> * scaling: The scale factor to apply
> * direction: a komma separated list of length ndim which specifies  
> for each
>  dimension if it is increasing or decreasing. If this attribute is  
> missing,
>  increasing is implied.
> * precedence: a komma separated list of length ndim which gives the  
> rank
>  order in which array indexes change with respect to other indexes. A
>  precedence of 1 denotes the fastest changing index. If this  
> attribute is
>  missing, C storage order is implied.
> * coefficients, a komma separated list of the polynomial  
> coefficients to use
>  for a polynomial transform
> Coordinate System
> ------------------
> This suggestion results from comparing imageCIF with NeXus. Ideally  
> we should
> be able to make a mapping from CIF to NeXus. Unfortunately, NeXus  
> had some
> weaknesses in coordinate systems (addressed by this proposal) and  
> scaled data.
> Please note, that this proposal extends in what we already do in  
> NeXus and
> does not invalidate earlier efforts.
> The CIF way of specifying axis is far more accurate then what we do  
> with NeXus.
> Thus the suggestion is to align NeXus with the well thought out CIF  
> scheme.
> This section consists first of a discussion of the CIF axis system  
> and then
> of suggestions how to use this within NeXus.
> CIF uses a coordinate system which is similar to the McStas  
> coordinate system
> which NeXus uses at its bottom. Just the orientation of the Z-axis  
> differs.
> The description of any given axis in CIF consists of three elements:
> * The type of the axis. This can be translation or rotation
> * The axis vector. This is the direction of a translation or the  
> vector around
>  which the axis rotates.
> * The axis offset. The offset to the base of the rotation or  
> translation. If
>  this is not given 0,0,0 is assumed.
> CIF also describes in which order transformations have to be applied  
> to get
> a component into its final position from its zero position. In CIF  
> this is
> done by chaining axis through the depends attribute.
> This scheme is a generalisation of the methods used commonly in
> crystallography. There a crystal is brought into scattering position  
> by
> applying a series of rotations. Please note that order is important!
> ===Axis Suggestions for NeXus===
> 1) NeXus stays with the McStas coordinate system.
> 2) NeXus uses the vector and offset scheme to document existing  
> NeXus axis.
>  The base of all operations is always the component, if not  
> specified by an
>  offset vector. Rotations are in degree, translations in milimetre.
> Some examples:
> * rotation_angle has a vector 0 1 0, rotation around Y
> * azimuthal_angle is a rotation around Z, vector = 0 0 1
> * polar_angle is also a rotation around Y, vector 0 1 0, but as the  
> rotation
>  axis is with the previous component upstream, we have an offset of
>  0 0 -distance
> In NXsample we additionally have:
> * chi is a rotation around Z, vector 0 0 1
> * phi is a rotation around Y, vector 0 1 0
> * kappa, for kappa the vector attribute has to be given as there are
>  kappa goniometres with different values of kappa.
> 3) Each NeXus component can have an additional field with the name  
> transform.
> This contains a komma separated list of the operations required to  
> place
> the componentat its position in the instrument. The formula is:
>      Xcurrent = op1*op2....*opn * X0
> with transform becoming: op1,op2,....,opn Names of operations are  
> the names of
> the axis to apply. Unqualified names relate to axis in the same  
> group. In
> order to refer axis outside the current group, full path names must  
> be given.
> Storing this separatly in a transform field gives direct access  
> whereas
> the CIF depends system requires a lot of searches to reconstruct the  
> sequence
> of transforms.
> In this description, our NeXus polar coordinate system has the  
> transform:
>          azimuthal_angle, polar_angle
> This is also the default if the transform field is missing.
> 4) NeXus strongly prefers to use the NeXus simple coordinate system  
> with
> polar_angle and azimuthal_angle as describe above. This description  
> has the
> advantage that polar_angle is always two theta.
> 5)  With the vector/offset scheme arbitrary axis can be stored in  
> NeXus.
> The rule then is  that type, vector and offset have to be specified as
> attributes.Type is NX_CHAR, vector and offset  are of dim 3 and type
> NX_FLOAT. We need these attributes anyway as there are angles such  
> as kappa,
> which differ in their rotation axis between instruments.
> 6) NeXus is missing a rotation around the X axis. As we already  
> bought into
> quite lyrical names for rotation axis I suggest aequatorial_angle as  
> a name
> for this.
> 7) Consequently, as NeXus does not have fields for describing  
> translations,
> except in Nxgeometry, I suggest to add x_translation, y_translation  
> and
> z_translation fields to each component. I choose to suggest separate  
> fields
> for the translations as they frequently map to dedicated motors.  
> Please note
> that all angles have to be 0 if you were to determine the operation  
> of any
> given translation motor.
> 8) The orientation field in NXgeometry receives the same meaning as  
> vector
> in axis descriptions. With vector being aligned with the main axis  
> of the
> component.
> 9) NXgeometry stays as is as a means to describe shapes, engineering
> coordinates of orientations of components.
> NXmeasurement
> ----------------
> In order to satisfy the requirements of the beamline scientist an  
> additional,
> simplified NeXus hierarchy is proposed:
> entry:NXentry
>   measurement:NXmeasurement
>      positions:NXpositioners
>      scalars:NXscalar
>      images:NXimagedata
> Please note that this is an example how a NXmeasurement group may  
> look like.
> The general feeling was to allow much freedom in NXmeasurement and  
> standardize
> later on if a common pattern emerges. The meaning is that the  
> NXpositioners
> groups contains a list of all constants and motor positions,  
> NXscalar arrays
> of all parameters varied during the scan and NXimageData the images  
> and other
> detector data which has been captured during a scan or measurement.  
> This
> structure is for the expert, the instrument scientist, who knows his
> instrument by heart and wishes to be able to plot anything against  
> anything
> in his instrument. NXmeasurement is not meant to stand alone but is  
> to be
> augmented with further NXsubentries containing the data in proper  
> NeXus
> notation and hierarchy.
> _______________________________________________
> NeXus-committee mailing list
> NeXus-committee at nexusformat.org
> http://lists.nexusformat.org/mailman/listinfo/nexus-committee

Ray Osborn
Materials Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, IL 60439, USA
Phone: +1 (630) 252-9011
Email: ROsborn at anl.gov

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