Implementing new models

All models implemented in the heron package are built on top of the Model class, which provides a number of useful methods to assist in creating a Gaussian process model.

class heron.models.Model[source]

This is the factory class for statistical models used for waveform generation.

A model class must expose the following methods: - distribution : produce a distribution of waveforms at a given point in the parameter space - mean : produce a mean waveform at a given point in the parameter space - train : provide an interface for training the model

All of the methods which are provided by this class are intended to be treated as private methods, which other classes build upon, and which aren’t intended to be accessed directly.

To build a new model we can begin by inheriting the Model class.

class NewModel(Model):

This will give your new model access to the various methods which are needed to produce waveform outputs from a model.

As a minimum your new model must contain three methods so that heron can interact with it properly.


This method should return the parameters of the waveform distribution at a given location in parameter space, i.e. a vector representing the mean and variance at each requested location. The function should have the following signature

distribution(self, p, times, *args, **kwargs)

With p being a dictionary of coordinates in the parameter space, and times being a list or array of times at which the waveform distribution should be produced.


This method should return only the mean waveform at a given location in the parameter space. It should have the signature

mean(p, times, *args, **kwargs)

Where p is a dictionary of coordinates in the parameter space, and times is a list or array of times at which the waveform distribution should be produed.


This method defines the correct way to “train” the model, in order to determine the optimal values of the hyperparameters for the model (using an empirical Bayesian approach). This method should, at the minimum, set to True for the model, and self.evaluate to False, in order to mark the model as being in a training state, and not suitable for evaluation.

If this method conducts the entire training process you may then switch these flags to set self.evaluate to True and to False before the method completes its execution. Alternatively you should define an eval() method to do this, and any other cleaning-up which should be done after training. If heron encounters a model in training state when attempting to evaluate it, it will first attempt to run the eval() method on the model.

In addition to the Model class, a number of additional helper classes exist within heron, mainly to help with the construction of gravitational wave models.

Gravitational wave-specific classes

The should be inherited in a class if it is designed to emulate binary black hole waveforms. This class provides metadata related to the intrinsic parameters of these systems. For simpler models which don’t include spin effects you should use the class instead.

For time-domain strain models you should have your model class inherit the class. This provides interfaces to the waveform model which are particular to a time-domain model.