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Guidelines for Contributing

As a scientific community-driven software project, welcomes contributions from interested individuals or groups. These guidelines are provided to give potential contributors information to make their contribution compliant with the conventions of the project, and maximize the probability of such contributions to be merged as quickly and efficiently as possible.

There are 4 main ways of contributing to the project (in descending order of difficulty or scope):

  • Adding new or improved functionality to the existing codebase
  • Fixing outstanding issues (bugs) with the existing codebase. They range from low-level software bugs to higher-level design problems.
  • Contributing or improving the documentation (docs) or examples (
  • Submitting issues related to bugs or desired enhancements

Opening issues

We appreciate being notified of problems with the existing code. We prefer that issues be filed the on Gitub Issue Tracker, rather than on social media or by direct email to the developers.

Please verify that your issue is not being currently addressed by other issues or pull requests by using the GitHub search tool to look for key words in the project issue tracker.

Contributing code via pull requests

While issue reporting is valuable, we strongly encourage users who are inclined to do so to submit patches for new or existing issues via pull requests. This is particularly the case for simple fixes, such as typos or tweaks to documentation, which do not require a heavy investment of time and attention.

Contributors are also encouraged to contribute new code to enhance's functionality, also via pull requests.

The preferred workflow for contributing to is to fork the GitHUb repository, clone it to your local machine, and develop on a feature branch.


  1. Fork the project repository by clicking on the 'Fork' button near the top right of the main repository page. This creates a copy of the code under your GitHub user account.

  2. Clone your fork of the repo from your GitHub account to your local disk, and add the base repository as a remote:

    $ git clone<your GitHub handle>/
    $ cd
    $ git remote add upstream
  3. Create a feature branch to hold your development changes:

    $ git checkout -b my-feature

    Always use a feature branch. It's good practice to never routinely work on the master branch of any repository.

  4. Please use the Dockerfile even when developing.

  5. Develop the feature on your feature branch. Add changed files using git add and then git commit files:

    $ git add modified_files
    $ git commit

    to record your changes locally. After committing, it is a good idea to sync with the base repository in case there have been any changes:

    $ git fetch upstream
    $ git rebase upstream/master

    Then push the changes to your GitHub account with:

    $ git push -u origin my-feature
  6. Go to the GitHub web page of your fork of the repo. Click the 'Pull request' button to send your changes to the project's maintainers for review. This will send an email to the committers.

Pull request checklist

We recommended that your contribution complies with the following guidelines before you submit a pull request:

  • If your pull request addresses an issue, please use the pull request title to describe the issue and mention the issue number in the pull request description. This will make sure a link back to the original issue is created.

  • All public methods must have informative docstrings with sample usage when appropriate.

  • Please prefix the title of incomplete contributions with [WIP] (to indicate a work in progress). WIPs may be useful to (1) indicate you are working on something to avoid duplicated work, (2) request broad review of functionality or API, or (3) seek collaborators.

  • Run any of the pre-existing examples in that contain analyses that would be affected by your changes to ensure that nothing breaks. This is a useful opportunity to not only check your work for bugs that might not be revealed by unit test, but also to show how your contribution improves for end users.

Developing in Docker

We have provided a Dockerfile which helps for isolating build problems, and local development. Install Docker for your operating system, clone this repo, then run docker-compose up --build. This should start a local docker container wth a notebook server running on port 9000. The repo will be running the code from your local copy of, so it is good for development.

Style guide

Follow TensorFlow's style guide or the Google style guide for writing code, which more or less follows PEP 8.

This guide was derived from the scikit-learn guide to contributing