Future

Below we make (non-exhaustively) note down ideas for future development. Some features may be added in a backwards compatible manner and thus in a minor release, whilst others will require inclusion in a major release. Where we have a concrete expectation, we note which type of release each listed feature should be included in.

Priority

The alphabetic version tags below such as v1.a and v1.b give a loose indication of priorty within a major release cycle, and are not generaly unique. That is, v1.a might ultimately not contain a feature next to which it is listed, and/or it might be identical to v1.b.

  • Make a dedicated directory for the tutorial notebooks in the documentation pages, link to them on GitHub, and state what is necessary to run those notebooks completely. Target: major release v1.0.
  • Port to a Python 2/3 compatible state (implicit to which is support for newer version of Python dependencies such as matplotlib, GetDist and nestcheck). Target: minor release v1.a or major release v2.0.
  • Unit testing. At present we are relying on the tutorial notebooks and examples as test beds to flag problems. Target: minor release v1.b.
  • Post-processing option to compute highest-density credible intervals (appropriate for multi-modal marginal posterior). Target: minor release v1.c.
  • Reintegrate support for post-processing of ensemble MCMC samples (the outdated backend was removed for v0.5 release pending the necessary development to enable post-processing with the current API; that backend only ever worked pre-v0.1 but was not removed because of the intent to update it).
  • Update HPC usage guide, specifically for the SURFsara systems. Target: major release v1.0.
  • Support for sensitivity analysis via importance sampling when post-processing posterior samples. Target: minor release v1.d.

Prospective

Unordered.

  • Implement a simpler switch between atmosphere model extensions (e.g., blackbody to numerical lookup table), rather than user having to remember to modify the relevant .pyx source file (e.g., by replacing function bodies and custom structs with code from the surface_radiation_field/archive) and then recompile. Perhaps look into C function pointers passed to Cython for runtime specification of shared object.
  • Draw samples from the joint prior more efficiently when post-processing.
  • Extension to interpolate in arbitrary number of dimensions (currently hard- coded four-dimensional cubic polynomial interpolation for, meaning two variables in addition to energy and zenith angle).
  • Add a plot class to render the posterior instrument effective area curves, optionally as a set of curves or as conditional posterior bands; relevant only for parameterised instrument models.
  • Signal plotting tools not associated with post-processing. E.g., simple functions to plot single signals (instead of many signals, each associated with a posterior sample) cached when the likelihood function is evaluated, as demonstrated in the various tutorial notebooks (thus some such functions already prototyped). Which module(s) to add these to?
  • Support for specifying which subset of energies is used for calculating signals from which surface components.
  • Module containing a class for arbitrary likelihood factor that might be a function of parameters defined in X-PSI, such as the mass and distance. It would plug into an instance of the existing likelihood class. Currently, support for this is provided by the Prior class, so it is to be decided if a distinct class for arbitrary likelihood factors is of any further use.
  • Develop additional extensions for the archive that transform global variables and spacetime coordinates into local variables to evaluate the local specific intensity emergent from the photosphere along a ray. These archived extensions need to implement two overlapping circular regions constituting a contiguous surface hot region, leading to morphologies such as single-temperature rings and crescents, and two-temperature hot regions that are implemented for signal integration via surface discretisation and thus for likelihood evaluations. It is very useful to visualise the self-lensed images of the star (and the star-receiver configuration) resolved in sky direction (i.e., specific intensity, and intensity sky maps, phase resolved and phase averaged). The existing extensions can handle two single-temperature circular spots, and other complexities, but do not precisely implement the aforementioned hot region models. It might be possible to develop one complex extension that is all-encompassing in this respect, but it would require a user to learn how to deactivate certain complexities in order to match the models implemented for surface discretisation.
  • Develop animated photon incident flux pulse-profile and phase-averaged photon incident specific flux spectrum plots, optionally with hot region components shown independently, to optionally display alongside sky maps.
  • Develop helper functions to wrap the atmosphere checking tools and generate standard plot types so a user does not need to handle matplotlib objects as much. The relevant tutorial notebook shows how it can be done for some simple plots. It is also to be determined what types of plots are of most interest and useful, or are considered standard.
  • Handle joint modeling of X-ray and Far-UV data with multiple instruments. The Far-UV instrument operation and likelihood function form needs to be worked out and implemented, but phase-averaged signals, the notion of xpsi.Elsewhere, and different atmospheres (e.g., ionized hot regions + partially-ionized elsewhere) currently supported.
  • Add customisable method somewhere to transform raw sample file vectors to parameter values compatible with current API, in case of backwards incompatible changes, to avoid user having to figure out how to do this safely.
  • Check to see where the extension tools can be called from other extensions (e.g., likelihood extensions calling phase integrator tool) where appropriate instead of having similar operations coded twice, for maintainability.
  • Decide whether to allow user to define their photon energy and effective area units (requires a minor tweak and explanation in docstrings/comments).
  • Examine if memory is being freed properly by garbage collection after plotting a skymap frame and after animating a sky-map phase sequence, and if memory consumption is not excessively high.

General

  • Development of various meshes used for discretisation of the computational domain (surface and image plane).
  • Support for acceleration via analytic techniques.
  • Expand support for samplers, either natively or by refactoring to use a framework for general inference such as Bilby.