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Frequently Asked Questions

Why was Census written?

When I first began trying to teach people NONMEM, it became apparent that a console-based application that needed to be compiled on-the-fly was intimidating to people who were used to glorious GUI-based applications like S-PLUS. The output, with all its exponential-format numbers, was especially problematic. Getting the results into a friendly environment and a format that people could read easily seemed the way to go. That, and managing run results was a tedious combination of notebooks and Excel. When you have as many as 500 runs in a project, this becomes a real pain in the neck.

Is Census really open source?

Yes. It is made available under the Lesser GNU Public License, version 3.0.

Is Census free, then?

Yes. Enjoy.

How is development of Census funded?

It isn't. Census is an entirely voluntary and self-supported project at present. That said, any offers of sponsorship (of software, say) would be very warmly received, and would add a big boost to the further development of the application. Mail me if you'd like to give a starving postdoc a helping hand...It should be mentioned that the development of Census was previously funded, as part of my PhD research, by the wonderful people at the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town. Now that I have graduated, though, that is no longer the case.

Will Census be ported to the Mac?

Why, yes. Census 2 was developed on a Mac, although it also works on Windows.

Will Census be ported to Linux?

Ideally. However, some annoying cross-platform details currently prevent this. Work continues, but there are no guarantees.

Does Census support NONMEM 7?

Census 2 currently only supports versions of NONMEM that produce XML output files. This means only recent versions of NONMEM 7.x. So, yes.

Does Census support older versions of NONMEM?

Versions 5 and 6 are supported in version 1.x, available here for Windows only. Support for legacy versions may be re-introduced in 2.x in the future if there is any interest from users. This means if you want it, email me.

Does Census support PsN?

Yes. In fact, Census will rely on it in the future. Currently, Census allows the import of PsN results files, although it doesn't do much with them.

Does Census support Xpose?

Not at the moment, but this feature will be back.

Does Census support R?

Not at the moment, but this feature will be back. R support is essential to enable Xpose support.

Will Census support Wings for NONMEM?

I would say "soon", but I've been saying "soon" for years. It's planned, but don't hold your breath.

Why do I need Census when I already have Pirana?

Census doesn't cost anything, and, um, looks prettier. At least on Macs...

Will Census support S-PLUS/PDx-POP?

No. These are commercial products and it is diffcult for freeware developers like myself to use them unless copies are donated, or I have access to them via my day job (which I don't). Besides, if you have PDx-POP you probably don't need Census, and if you have S-PLUS, perhaps you have not heard of R, which is both substantially more powerful and somewhat cheaper (being free).

Will Census be able to run NONMEM itself?

Yes, once PsN is folded in, NONMEM will have the ability to prepare and execute NONMEM runs as well as interpret them. But don't hold your breath, this is a ways off.

If Census breaks my computer or any of my data, or costs me any time or money, or offends me or people or companies that I know in any way, can I sue you?

No. Use at your own risk. It's free, so support is limited, I'm afraid.

Can Census change, delete or damage my run data?

No. Census reads NONMEM input and output, but does not alter it in any way.

Can I cite Census?

Sure! Wilkins JJ. NONMEMory: a run management tool for NONMEM. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2005 Jun;78(3):259-67.

Your article calls Census NONMEMory...

Before Census was called Census, it was called NONMEMory. The University of California felt that NONMEMory sounded too similar to NONMEM, and politely asked me to change it. Before NONMEMory, Census was called Drumsticks For NONMEM in an homage to the ground-breaking Wings for NONMEM. Change is the one constant in life...

Can I get support from the University of California or ICON?

Census is a completely independent project, and while it is complementary to NONMEM, has no ties to either UC San Francisco or ICON Development Solutions. Consequently, asking them for support if you have problems with Census will very probably be fruitless. It would be like phoning the the TV station to tell them that your TiVo is broken.

What did you use to write Census?

Lazarus 1.0.6 together with the Free Pascal Compiler v. 2.6.0, and a couple of open-source components.

Can I help with development?

Indeed you may. Download a copy of the source code, kit yourself out with recent versions of Lazarus and Free Pascal, and get cracking. If you want to help in the mainstream part of the project (this one) rather than starting your own branch, contact me and I'll help you get set up as a project member at SourceForge.

Why wasn't Census written in something more widely used than Lazarus - like Qt, for example?

Good idea, but I started this project as a Delphi developer, back in the dim and distant past. One day it would be nice to port Census to Qt or something similarly popular, but since I am too old an lazy to learn a whole new development language from scratch, it ain't gonna be done by me. Probably.

Why are all the buttons grayed out? I can't do anything!

You need to create a new database for your current modelling project (the first toolbar button) or open an existing one (second button). Unlike previous versions of Census, databases are now single, portable files (based on the SQLite3 standard, for those of you interested in such things).

I can't see goodness-of-fit plots.

This is because they aren't implemented yet. But soon...

Can I use Census to manipulate my input data files?

Certainly not. Changing NONMEM input or output after the fact is a spectacularly bad idea, for many, many reasons, most of which should be obvious.

Is Census 21 CFR Part 11 compliant?

No, probably not. But it does keep a record of everything that is done (adding, deleting and modifying records) - although you can't directly access this information in the current version - and does not allow key data to be changed.

What are condition numbers and why are they important?

The ratio of the largest eigenvalue to the smallest eigenvalue, referred to as the condition number, is a measure of ill-conditioning. Eigenvalues are generated by NONMEM when the PRINT=E argument is used in the $COVARIANCE record. A condition number exceeding 1 000 is indicative of severe ill-conditioning (Montgomery DC, Peck EA. Introduction to Linear Regression Analysis. Wiley, NY, 1982, pp. 301-302). Thanks to William Bachman for this definition, which I've shamelessly stolen from this NMusers post.

The Census icon appears to be a chicken. Why is this?

When I first started learning NONMEM, back in the dim and dusty past (2001), it was on a DOS platform, using Nick Holford's Wings for NONMEM as a frontend. When development first started on Census, it was called Drumsticks for NONMEM to reference what had come before. The icon stuck. The name didn't. The icon's current form is modelled on the lovely Mexican ornament I was given by Carlos Hoyo-Vadillo one PAGE meeting. Thanks, Carlos!

Will there be more frequently asked questions?

Yes indeed. Just as soon as I find the time to write them down, and just as soon as I get asked them more than once.

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