RHESSI FAQ - Running the HESSI Software


What if I donít have IDL?
Where should I look for documentation about running the RHESSI Data Analysis Software?
What should I do if IDL crashes when running a RHESSI program?
Is there a Web interface for running the RHESSI software?
Why donít things work after I use .reset to reset my IDL session?
Why do I get ĎPermission deniedí messages while running the RHESSI software?
How do I enable using simulated data?
Where should I send bug reports?
How do I run in batch mode?

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What if I donít have IDL?

If you donít have access to IDL Version 6.1 (or greater) there are two alternatives:

  1. There is a Web interface to the RHESSI data.

  2. It may be possible to set up an account for you on one of the RHESSI servers at Goddard or Berkeley, and you could log in remotely. For this to work, you would need SSH running on your computer (free), and if your computer were a PC, you would need some X windowing software (like Xwin-32- ~$150, cygwin - free, or many more).


Where should I look for documentation about running the RHESSI Data Analysis Software?

Refer to the RHESSI Data Center Web page at http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/rhessidatacenter/


What should I do if IDL crashes when running a RHESSI program?

Please follow the steps below to verify and report the problem.

  1. The error message and the traceback showing the IDL routines and statement numbers that appeared when the program crashed.

  2. A list of the local variables (type help,name='*')

  3. The IDL path (type print, !path)

For known bugs, type retall, and in many cases you will be able to continue working in your IDL session.


Is there a Web interface for running the RHESSI software?

Yes. The HESSI European Data Center (HEDC) at FHNW in Windisch, Switzerland has provided a Web tool for accessing RHESSI data and browsing RHESSI data products.


Why donít things work after I use .reset to reset my IDL session?

The .reset command in IDL resets your IDL session without requiring you to exit and restart IDL. However, some system variables required by the RHESSI software are only defined when IDL starts, and the .reset destroys them. We recommend that you not use the .reset command. Exit and restart IDL to refresh the session.


Why do I get ĎPermission deniedí messages while running the RHESSI software?

The RHESSI software writes some output files in your current directory. You probably donít have permission to create files in your current directory. Type pwd to see what your current directory is.


How do I enable using simulated data?

There is an environment variable, HSI_USE_SIM, that control whether you are allowed to use simulated data in this session of SSW IDL.  The default is false (you can use flight data only).  If you want to switch to using simulated data, type

hsi_switch,/sim

and if you want to switch back to using flight data, type

hsi_switch, /flight

If you want to default to using simulated data when you enter SSW IDL, you can add the line

setenv HSI_USE_SIM true

to your $SSW/site/setup/setup.hessi_env file (or the setup file in your $HOME directory on Unix).

Choosing simulated or flight data resets a few environment variables, rereads the flare list file, resets the clock drift initialization, and forces hessi_data_paths to generate a new data file search path.


Where should I send bug reports?

Review the instructions here first, then send bug reports to  hessibugs@hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov.


How do I run in batch mode?

The advantage of running in batch mode on UNIX is that you can start a processing chain and log off.  It will keep running.  On Windows, IDL always runs in the Graphical User Interface environment, which will exit if you log off your computer.  There doesn't seem to be any advantage to running in the pseudo-batch mode described below in Windows.

In real batch mode on UNIX, you must ensure that no graphical output will be sent to the screen.  This will cause the batch job to hang.  If you are generating RHESSI image, after setting the image algorithm, use the set_no_screen_output method to set all forms of screen output off:

image_obj -> set_no_screen_output

Another more general solution is to set the plot device to the Z buffer:

set_plot, 'Z'

UNIX Platforms

Use the ssw_batch routine to run programs in batch mode on UNIX machines as follows.

Set up the script/program you want to run as a main routine (a series of commands followed by an END).  If it is not already a main routine, write a wrapper that is a main routine that calls your routine.  For example, if your procedure is called loopimage, create a main routine called, e.g., loopimage_main which contains the following lines:

loopimage
end

Then at the UNIX shell command level, type

ssw_batch loopimage_main loopimage_main.log

You can use the following command to watch the progress of the log file as it grows.

tail -f loopimage_main.log

WINDOWS Platforms

There is no direct equivalent to ssw_batch for Windows.  One method for running in pseudo-batch mode is to add the IDL commands that run your program to your IDL startup file.  If you put an EXIT at the end of your startup file, IDL will exit after running the startup file (and your program).  As mentioned, there doesn't seem to much advantage in running this way.


 

Last updated 12 January 2011 by Kim Tolbert , 301-286-3965