Algorithm Development


The EGADS framework is designed to facilitate integration of third-party algorithms. This is accomplished through creation of Python modules containing the algorithm code, and corresponding LaTeX files which contain the algorithm methodology documentation. This section will explain the elements necessary to create these files, and how to incorporate them into the broader package.

Python module creation

To guide creation of Python modules containing algorithms in EGADS, an algorithm template has been included in the distribution. It can be found in doc/source/example_files/ and is shown below:

__author__ = "mfreer, ohenry"
__date__ = "2016-12-14 15:04"
__version__ = "1.0"
__all__ = ['']

import egads.core.egads_core as egads_core
import egads.core.metadata as egads_metadata

# 1. Change class name to algorithm name (same as filename) but 
#    following MixedCase conventions. 

class AlgorithmTemplate(egads_core.EgadsAlgorithm):
# 2. Edit docstring to reflect algorithm description and input/output 
#    parameters used

    This file provides a template for creation of EGADS algorithms.


    VERSION     1.0

    CATEGORY    None

    PURPOSE     Template for EGADS algorithm files


    INPUT       inputs      var_type    units   description

    OUTPUT      outputs     var_type    units   description

    SOURCE      sources

    REFERENCES  references


    def __init__(self, return_Egads=True):
        egads_core.EgadsAlgorithm.__init__(self, return_Egads)

        # 3. Complete output_metadata with metadata of the parameter(s) to be
        #    produced by this algorithm. In the case of multiple parameters, 
        #    use the  following formula:
        #        self.output_metadata = []
        #        self.output_metadata.append(egads_metadata.VariableMetadata(...)
        #        self.output_metadata.append(egads_metadata.VariableMetadata(...)
        #        ...
        self.output_metadata = egads_metadata.VariableMetadata({

        # 3 cont. Complete metadata with parameters specific to algorithm, 
        #    including a list of inputs, a corresponding list of units, and 
        #    the list of outputs. InputTypes are linked to the different 
        #    var_type written in the docstring 
        self.metadata = egads_metadata.AlgorithmMetadata({
            'InputDescription':['A description for an input'],
            'OutputDescription':['A description for an output'],
            'Purpose':'Template for EGADS algorithm files',
            }, self.output_metadata)

    # 4. Replace the 'inputs' parameter in the three instances below with the 
    #    list of input parameters to be used in the algorithm.
    def run(self, inputs):

        return, inputs)

    # 5. Implement algorithm in this section.
    def _algorithm(self, inputs):

        ## Do processing here:

        return result

The best practice before starting an algorithm is to copy this file and name it following the EGADS algorithm file naming conventions, which is all lowercase with words separated by underscores. As an example, the file name for an algorithm calculating the wet bulb temperature contributed by DLR would be called

Within the file itself, there are one rule to respect and several elements in this template that will need to be modified before this can be usable as an EGADS algorithm.:

  1. Format

    An algorithm file is composed of different elements: metadata, class name, algorithm docstring, … It is critical to respect the format of each element of an algorithm file, in particular the first metadata and the docstring, in term of beginning white spaces, line length, … Even if it is not mandatory for EGADS itself, it will facilitate the integration of those algorithms in the new Graphical User Interface.

  2. Class name

    The class name is currently ‘AlgorithmTemplate’, but this must be changed to the actual name of the algorithm. The conventions here are the same name as the filename (see above), but using MixedCase. So, following the example above, the class name would be TemperatureWetBulbDlr

  3. Algorithm docstring

    The docstring is everything following the three quote marks just after the class definition. This section describes several essential aspects of the algorithm for easy reference directly from Python. This part is critical for the understanding of the algorithm by different users.

  4. Algorithm and output metadata

    In the __init__ method of the module, two important parameters are defined. The first is the ‘output_metadata’, which defines the metadata elements that will be assigned to the variable output by the algorithm. A few recommended elements are included, but a broader list of variable metadata parameters can be found in the NetCDF standards document on the EUFAR website (, Annexe III). In the case that there are multiple parameters output by the algorithm, the output_metadata parameter can be defined as a list VariableMetadata instances.

    Next, the ‘metadata’ parameter defines metadata concerning the algorithm itself. These information include the names, types, descriptions and units of inputs; names, units, types and descriptions of outputs; name, description, purpose, category, source, reference, date and version of the algorithm; date processed; and a reference to the output parameters. Of these parameters, only the names, types, descriptions and units of the inputs, names and descriptions of the outputs and category, source, reference, description and purpose of the algorithm need to be altered. The other parameters (name, date and version of the processor, date processed) are populated automatically.

    • units: units of the output.
    • long_name: the name describing the output.
    • standard_name: a short name for the output.
    • Category: Name(s) of probe category - comma separated list (cf. EUFAR document for an example of possible categories).
    • Inputs: representation of each input in the documentation and in the code (ex: P_a for altitude pressure).
    • InputUnits: a list of all input units, one unit per input, ‘’ for dimensionless input and ‘None’ for the input accepting every kind of units.
    • InputTypes: the type of the input (array, vector, coeff, …) linked to the var_type string in the algorithm template ; the string _optional can be added to inform that the input is optional (used in the EGADS GUI).
    • InputDescription: short description of each input.
    • Outputs: representation of each output (ex: P_a for altitude pressure).
    • OutputUnits: units of each output (cf. self.output_metadata[‘units’]).
    • OutputTypes: type of each output (ex: vector).
    • OutputDescription: short description of each output.
    • Purpose: the goal of the algorithm.
    • Description: a description of the algorithm.
    • Category: the category of the algorithm (ex: Transforms, Thermodynamis, …).
    • Source : the source of the algorithm (ex: CNRM).
    • Reference : the reference of the algorithm (ex: Doe et al, My wonderful algorithm, Journal of Algorithms, 11, pp 21-22, 2017).
    • Processor:
    • ProcessorDate: __date__.
    • ProcessorVersion: __version__.
    • DateProcessed:


For algorithms in which the output units depend on the input units (i.e. a purely mathematical transform, derivative, etc), there is a specific methodology to tell EGADS how to set the output units. To do this, set the appropriate units parameter of output_metadata to inputn where n is the number of the input parameter from which to get units (starting at 0). For algorithms in which the units of the input has no importance, the input units should set to None. For algorithms in which the input units are dimensionless (a factor, a quantity, a coefficient), the units on the input parameter should be set to ''.


EGADS accepts different kind of input type: coeff. for coefficient, vector, array, string, … When writing the docstring of an algorithm and the metadata InputTypes, the user should write the type carefully as it is interpreted by EGADS. If a type depends on another variable or multiple variables, for example the time, or geographic coordinates, the variable name should be written between brackets (ex: array[lon,lat]). If a variable is optional, the user should add , optional to the type in the doctstring, and _optional to the type in the metadata InputTypes.

  1. Definition of parameters

    In both the run and _algorithm methods, the local names intended for inputs need to be included. There are three locations where the same list must be added (marked in bold):

    • def run(self, inputs)
    • return, inputs)
    • def _algorithm(self, inputs)
  2. Implementation of algorithm

    The algorithm itself gets written in the _algorithm method and uses variables passed in by the user. The variables which arrive here are simply scalar or arrays, and if the source is an instance of EgadsData, the variables will be converted to the units you specified in the InputUnits of the algorithm metadata.

  3. Integration of the algorithm in EGADS

    Once the algorithm file is ready, the user has to move it in the appropriate directory in the $HOME/.egads_lineage/user_algorithms directory. Once it has been done, the file has to be modified to declare the new algorithm. The following line can be added to the file: from the_name_of_the_file import *.

    If the algorithm requires a new directory, the user has to create it in the user directory, move the file inside and create a file to declare the new directory and the algoritm to EGADS. A template can be found in doc/source/example_files/ and is shown below:

    EGADS new algorithms. See EGADS Algorithm Documentation for more info.
    __author__ = "ohenry"
    __date__ = "$Date:: 2017-01-27 10:52#$"
    __version__ = "$Revision:: 1      $"
    import logging
        from the_name_of_my_new_algorithm_file import *'egads [corrections] algorithms have been loaded')
    except Exception:
        logging.error('an error occured during the loading of a [corrections] algorithm')

Documentation creation

Within the EGADS structure, each algorithm has accompanying documentation in the EGADS Algorithm Handbook. These descriptions are contained in LaTeX files, organized in a structure similar to the toolbox itself, with one algorithm per file. These files can be found in the Documentation/EGADS Algorithm Handbook directory in the EGADS package downloaded from GitHub repository:

A template is provided to guide creation of the documentation files. This can be found at Documentation/EGADS Algorithm Handbook/algorithms/algorithm_template.tex. The template is divided into 8 sections, enclosed in curly braces. These sections are explained below:

  • Algorithm name
    Simply the name of the Python file where the algorithm can be found.
  • Algorithm summary
    This is a short description of what the algorithm is designed to calculate, and should contain any usage caveats, constraints or limitations.
  • Category
    The name of the algorithm category (e.g. Thermodynamics, Microphysics, Radiation, Turbulence, etc).
  • Inputs
    At the minimum, this section should contain a table containing the symbol, data type (vector or coefficient), full name and units of the input parameters. An example of the expected table layout is given in the template.
  • Outputs
    This section describes the parameters output from the algorithm, using the same fields as the input table (symbol, data type, full name and units). An example of the expected table layout is given in the template.
  • Formula
    The mathematical formula for the algorithm is given in this section, if possible, along with a description of the techniques employed by the algorithm.
  • Author
    Any information about the algorithm author (e.g. name, institution, etc) should be given here.
  • References
    The references section should contain citations to publications which describe the algorithm.

In addition to these sections, the index and algdesc fields at the top of the file need to be filled in. The value of the index field should be the same as the algorithm name. The algdesc field should be the full English name of the algorithm.


Any “_” character in plain text in LaTeX needs to be offset by a “". Thus if the algorithm name is temp_static_cnrm, in LaTex, it should be input as temp\_static\_cnrm.


An example algorithm is shown below with all fields completed.

%% $Date: 2012-02-17 18:01:08 +0100 (Fri, 17 Feb 2012) $
%% $Revision: 129 $
\algdesc{Static Temperature}
{ %%%%%% Algorithm name %%%%%%
{ %%%%%% Algorithm summary %%%%%%
Calculates static temperature of the air from total temperature.  
This method applies to probe types such as the Rosemount.
{ %%%%%% Category %%%%%%
{ %%%%%% Inputs %%%%%%
$T_t$ &	Vector & Measured total temperature [K] \\
${\Delta}P$ & Vector & Dynamic pressure [hPa] \\
$P_s$ & Vector & Static pressure [hPa] \\
$r_f$ & Coeff. & Probe recovery coefficient \\ 
$R_a/c_{pa}$ & Coeff. & Gas constant of air divided by specific heat of air 
at constant pressure
{ %%%%%% Outputs %%%%%%
$T_s$ & Vector & Static temperature [K]
{ %%%%%% Formula %%%%%%
 T_s = \frac{T_t}{1+r_f \left(\left(1+\frac{\Delta P}{P_s}\right)^{R_a/c_{pa}}
 -1\right)} \nonumber
{ %%%%%% Author %%%%%%
{ %%%%%% References %%%%%%