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Last modified: 21 June 2011

URL: http://cxc.harvard.edu/sherpa/index.html
[Sherpa logo]

CIAO's modeling and fitting package


Sherpa is the CIAO modeling and fitting application. It enables the user to construct complex models from simple definitions and fit those models to data, using a variety of statistics and optimization methods (see Gallery of Examples).

The latest Python-only version of Sherpa was released for CIAO 4.3 on 15 December 2010. For the most up-to-date changes and additions to Sherpa functionality, see the Latest Updates page.

Sherpa lets you:
  • fit 1-D data sets (simultaneously or individually), including:
    spectra, surface brightness profiles, light curves, general ASCII arrays;

  • fit 2-D images/surfaces in the Poisson/Gaussian regime;

  • access the internal data arrays;

  • build complex model expressions;

  • import and use your own models;

  • choose appropriate statistics for modeling Poisson or Gaussian data;

  • import new statistics, with priors if required by analysis;

  • visualize a parameter space with simulations or using 1-D/2-D cuts of
    the parameter space;

  • calculate confidence levels on the best-fit model parameters;

  • choose a robust optimization method for the fit: Levenberg-Marquardt,
    Nelder-Mead Simplex or Monte Carlo/Differential Evolution;

  • and use Python to create complex analysis and modeling functions,
    build the batch mode analysis or extend the provided functionality
    to meet the required needs.

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The new Sherpa infrastructure greatly enhances the default Sherpa functions, and provides users with an environment for developing complex and sophisticated analysis.

Sherpa is designed for use in a variety of modes: as a user-interactive application and in batch mode. Sherpa is an importable module for the Python the scripting language and is available as a C/C++ library for software developers. In addition, users may write their own Python scripts for use in Sherpa.

The About Sherpa page outlines new features and provides a summary of missing items with respect to Sherpa 3.4. See also the SciPy2009 conference proceedings for detailed information about Sherpa's capabilities. Please send feedback and questions on Sherpa to the Helpdesk.

Meet the Sherpa Team.
[photos of the Sherpa Team]

The CXC is committed to helping Sherpa users transition to new syntax as smoothly as possible. If you have existing Sherpa scripts or save files, submit them to us via the CXC Helpdesk and we will provide the CIAO/Sherpa 4.3 syntax to you.


Citing Sherpa in a Publication

If you are writing a paper and would like to cite Sherpa, we recommend the following papers:

Sherpa: 1D/2D modeling and fitting in Python (SciPy)
B. Refsdal, S. Doe, D. Nguyen, A. Siemiginowska, N. Bonaventura, D. Burke, I. Evans, J. Evans, A. Fruscione, E. Galle, J. Houck, M. Karovska, N. Lee, M. Nowak,
Proceedings of the 8th Python in Science conference (SciPy 2009), G. Varoquaux, S. van der Walt, J. Millman (Eds.), pp. 51-57 2009

Sherpa: a mission-independent data analysis application (ADS)
P. E. Freeman, S. Doe, A. Siemiginowska
SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 4477, p.76, 2001

\bibitem[Freeman et al.(2001)]{2001SPIE.4477...76F} Freeman, P., Doe, S., 
\& Siemiginowska, A.\ 2001, \procspie, 4477, 76

The specific version of CIAO and CALDB (if applicable) used for the analysis should be mentioned as well.

A reference for the Python interface to Sherpa is also available:

Developing Sherpa with Python (ADS)
S. Doe, et al.
Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XVI, 376, 543

\bibitem[Doe et al.(2007)]{2007ASPC..376..543D} Doe, S., et al.\ 2007, 
Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XVI, 376, 543

Further guidelines are available from the Acknowledgment of Use of Chandra Resources.


Last modified: 21 June 2011
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