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Take Two

This is a slightly more technical section, in which we flesh out a little more of the details surrounding some of the commands, formats and functions used above.


The sample-list file (s.lst in this tutorial) is a tab-delimited plain-text file, that defines a project, that is, a set of EDFs and annotation files. Sample-lists have one row per individual/EDF, with two or more tab-delimited columns: ID, EDF file path, and optionally, one or more annotation files or folders. In this example, the s.lst file specifies 3 EDFs and their corresponding annotation files (the XML files).

Use a text editor (e.g. TextEdit on Mac, if not emacs or similar), not a word processor, to generate or edit these files. Here the sample list has been automatically generated and you should not need to change it if running the tutorial from the same directory that contains this file. Be aware that spaces will be interpreted as part of the filename -- so make sure not to introduce any superfluous whitespace or special characters, as it will mean that Luna may not be able to locate your data.

A note on file naming conventions. For convenience, here the files are referenced by their relative paths, but which means that you need to run Luna from the folder containing this file. If you want to run Luna from another folder, you can set the search path.


We've used the / character to indicate folders here, which is the standard for Linux and Mac OS.

Luna syntax

Luna expects the following arguments:

  • always as the first argument, EITHER a sample list (i.e. s.lst in this example), OR a single EDF file (that ends .edf or .EDF)

  • one or more commands, either via standard input or specified after the -s argument. If the -s is specified, it must be the final option given. That is, all other arguments are interpreted as Luna commands rather than arguments.

  • optionally, if the first argument is a sample list, then either one (i) or two (i and j) integers, to specify that only the i'th or the i'th to the j'th rows from the sample-list should be processed

  • optionally, a series of variable assignments, (e.g. sr=100 or sig=EEG1)

  • optionally, a parameter file prefixed with an at sign: for example, @param.txt. A parameter file lists variable definitions in a plain-text file, with one variable name/value pair per line, separated by a tab character. This is simply a convenience feature, and is equivalent to entering the same variable=value pairs on the command line.

  • optionally, a lunout output database following the -o ( or -a) argument. If it doesn't exist it will be created; with -o it will overwrite any existing data, whereas -a appends on any existing data.

There are a few exceptions: for example, some special commands (e.g. --xml as illustrated above) do not require a sample list to be specified.

Luna commands

Luna commands refer to a set of functions (summarized here), which are primarily operations performed on the EDFs. Here we are using the term command in a specific sense, as distinct from the arguments added on the command line when running Luna, which were described in the previous section.

By default, Luna iterates through all individual EDFs in the sample-list, applying the requested command(s). Commands can be specified either via the command-line (-s option) or from a separate file, directed into the standard input of the Luna program (with the < shell operation).

All command names should be UPPERCASE. Multiple commands can be separated by the ampersand character (&). When commands are given via standard input, a newline character also separates commands.

Options that follow commands are typically lowercase, and are either single keywords or variable=value pairs. When submitting multiple commands via the command line -s option, you will want to use quotes to stop the & being interpreted as a shell directive. For example, here we run two commands: EPOCH and STATS.

luna s.lst -s 'EPOCH len=20 & STATS epoch' > res.txt

By default, all commands are assumed to come from standard input, unless the -s is given (as above). If the file command.txt contains only the word DESC, then all four invocations of Luna below are identical (although the first one is preferred):

luna s.lst < command.txt > results.txt 
cat command.txt | luna s.lst > results.txt 
echo "DESC" | luna s.lst > results.txt 
luna s.lst -s DESC > results.txt 

If you are not familiar with pipes and redirection, the following tutorial (or any other web-search) will be helpful.

As a more advanced motivating example, it is also possible to prepend or append additional commands: for example, say command.txt is expecting signals with linked-mastoid referencing but the EDF does not contain these. Rather than edit commands.txt or use an intermediate file, you could perform this on-the-fly:

echo "REFERENCE sig=${eeg} ref=M1,M2" | cat - command.txt | luna s.lst > results.txt
i.e. as cat - command.txt will join first the new reference command (- meaning standard input, which is piped into cat from echo) and then the original file command.txt, and pass both to luna which will see it as a single stream of inputs.

Output format

By default, all output goes to standard out, i.e. the console/terminal by default. When outputting plain text (instead of using a lunout database, see below), most Luna commands generate output in a fixed format. (The initial DESC command is in fact an exception, as one of the few commands that generate a simple, "human-readable" text file.) The standard format comprises 6 tab-delimited columns, with one row per value:

 nsrr01     STATS      CH/SaO2 .      MIN    0.10071
 nsrr01     STATS      CH/SaO2 .      MAX    99.1196
 nsrr01     STATS      CH/SaO2 .      MEAN   76.9242
The 6 columns represent

  • individual identifier/ID from the sample-list file
  • the Luna command that is generating this output
  • any stratifying factors that logically organize the output (e.g. by channel, or by sleep stage and frequency range).
  • any temporal stratifying factors generated by Luna (e.g. epoch, time-point, event number)
  • the variable name
  • the value for that variable (for that individual, for that combination of stratifying factors)

If there are no stratifiers, columns 3 and 4 are set to empty(.). Here the strata are defined by a single factor (CH which indicates the channel). Strata for a single factor are represented as factor/level where level is the name of a particular channel (i.e. one of the 14 for these EDFs). The fifth and sixth columns then give the variable name and value for that person/strata combination. For example, the MEAN value for the SaO2 channel is 76.9242, as given on the third row of the output. This format is verbose but designed to be easily parsed by standard text processing tools: e.g. to see only the MEAN values, using the ubiquitous awk tool:

awk ' $5 == "MEAN" && $4 == "." { print $1, $3, $6 } ' res.txt
nsrr01    CH/SaO2      76.9242
nsrr01    CH/PR        57.3485
nsrr01    CH/EEG_sec_   1.18558
nsrr01    CH/ECG        0.00939557
nsrr01    CH/EMG       -6.8557
nsrr01    CH/EOG_L_     0.472551
nsrr01    CH/EOG_R_     0.321447
nsrr01    CH/EEG       -0.301199
nsrr01    CH/AIRFLOW    0.0664418
... (cont'd)

Using destrat

If the -o argument is given to Luna, instead of the column-based text output format described above, all output is sent to a lunout database, which is designed for handling stratified output. The tool destrat is designed to extract information from such databases, and de-stratify it, to produce simple, rectangular tables that can be read into other analysis programs or spreadsheets. For example, consider the following command:

luna s.lst sig=EEG,ECG,EMG -o out.db -s 'EPOCH & STATS epoch'

This generates a database, named out.db as requested. The destrat program will report on the contents of this file:

destrat out.db
out.db: 2 command(s), 3 individual(s), 31 variable(s), 247401 values
  command #1:   c1  Wed Dec  1 10:51:05 2021    EPOCH   sig=ECG,EEG,EMG
  command #2:   c2  Wed Dec  1 10:51:05 2021    STATS   epoch=T sig=ECG,EEG,EMG
distinct strata group(s):
  commands   : factors    : levels     : variables 
  [EPOCH]    : .          : 1 level(s) : DUR INC NE
             :            :            : 
  [STATS]    : CH         : 3 level(s) : KURT MAX MEAN MEDIAN.KURT MEDIAN.MEAN
             :            :            : MEDIAN.MEDIAN MEDIAN.RMS MEDIAN.SKEW
             :            :            : MIN NE NE1 P01 P02 P05 P10 P20
             :            :            : P30 P40 P50 P60 P70 P80 P90 P95
             :            :            : P98 P99 RMS SD SKEW
             :            :            : 
  [STATS]    : E CH       : (...)      : KURT MAX MEAN MEDIAN MIN P01 P02
             :            :            : P05 P10 P20 P30 P40 P50 P60 P70
             :            :            : P80 P90 P95 P98 P99 RMS SKEW
             :            :            : 

That is, we see that 2 commands were performed, generating output for 3 individuals. Different Luna commands will produce different levels of stratified output, depending on how they are run. By default, the STATS command produces one set of values for each channel. This is reflected in the strata group labeled CH. The 3 levels of this factor are the 3 channels specified in the command (i.e. EEG, ECG and EMG). The five core variables (MIN, MAX, MEAN, SD and RMS) are equivalent to the results generated at the start of this tutorial using the STATS command: that is, whole-signal statistics.

Running destrat with the -x option will give information about the factors and levels for that strata, rather than extracting the tabular output per se:

destrat out.db +STATS -r CH -x
Factors: 1
     [CH] 3 levels
     -> ECG, EEG, EMG

Individuals: 3
     nsrr01 nsrr02 nsrr03

Commands: 1

Variables: 29

Adding the epoch option to the STATS command generated some additional output:

  • per-epoch values for these five measures (MIN, MAX, MEAN, SD and RMS) -- these values are stratified by both channel (CH) and epoch (E)

  • a set of additional whole-signal summaries, based on combining the per-epoch level data and taking the median value -- like the original output, these values are only stratified by channel CH

Specifically, the new variables are

  • the digital and physical min/max values from the EDF header (DMIN, DMAX, PMIN and PMAX)
  • the observed physical min/max values from the signal data (OMIN, OMAX)
  • the median of the per-epoch mean (MEDIAN.MEAN), SD (MEDIAN.SD) and RMS (MEDIAN.RMS)
  • the unit of measurement from the EDF header (UNIT)


The goal of the STATS command's epoch option is primarily to generate per-epoch level data, although using the median of per-epoch means will be more robust to outliers compared to the whole-signal mean, which is why both are given.

To extract information on a subset of variables, use the -v option (where multiple variable names can be comma-delimited). The [STATS] argument tells destrat which command's output we are interested in; the -r option specifies that channels (CH) are listed as separate rows in the output.

destrat out.db +STATS -r CH -v RMS
ID        CH     RMS
nsrr01    ECG    0.266660881869383
nsrr01    EEG    37.801350632511
nsrr01    EMG    13.9700738671353
nsrr02    ECG    0.274496551353303
nsrr02    EEG    41.0442336241345
nsrr02    EMG    19.7064640585027
nsrr03    ECG    0.300029835524692
nsrr03    EEG    54.2707996328254
nsrr03    EMG    18.8981013309648

Running the same command but swapping from rows to columns (i.e. -c instead of -r), we get the following:

destrat out.db +STATS -c CH -v RMS 
ID        RMS.CH.ECG          RMS.CH.EEG         RMS.CH.EMG
nsrr01    0.266660881869383   37.801350632511    13.9700738671353
nsrr02    0.274496551353303   41.0442336241345   19.7064640585027
nsrr03    0.300029835524692   54.2707996328254   18.8981013309648

By default, all decimal places are given for numeric data; this can be modified with the -p option:

destrat out.db +STATS -c CH -v RMS -p 2
nsrr01   0.27         37.80        13.97
nsrr02   0.27         41.04        19.71
nsrr03   0.30         54.27        18.90

The -i option can be used to subset results to one or more individuals: in this case, nsrr02. Also, note here that we are requesting different values -- although we request the same variable (RMS), the strata are defined by channel (CH) and epoch (E). That is, these values are the per-epoch RMS values for each of the three channels. We can use both -r and -c to organize the output: e.g. arrange values for different channels as columns, but epochs as rows, as below. New variable names are created in the form {VAR}.{FAC}.{LVL} where {VAR} is the original variable name, {FAC} is the column-factor (i.e. CH), and {LVL} is the level for that factor (e.g. ECG). Multiple column-stratifiers can be combined in this way, e.g. -c FAC1 FAC2).

destrat out.db +STATS -r E -c CH -v RMS  -p 2 -i nsrr02 
nsrr02   1   0.27         11.98        4.91
nsrr02   2   0.28         15.88        9.91
nsrr02   3   0.27         12.47        22.73
nsrr02   4   0.26         11.35        13.61
nsrr02   5   0.26         12.29        19.06
nsrr02   6   0.27         15.23        23.92
nsrr02   7   0.28         14.47        20.08
nsrr02   8   0.30         14.88        23.88
nsrr02   9   0.30         19.56        22.70
... (cont'd) ...

Alternatively, here we run the same command but with both epoch and channel as row-stratifiers, which may be more convenient for some types of downstream analysis.

destrat out.db +STATS -r E CH -v RMS -p 2 -i nsrr02
ID       CH     E     RMS
nsrr02   ECG    1     0.27
nsrr02   ECG    2     0.28
nsrr02   ECG    3     0.27
nsrr02   ECG    4     0.26
nsrr02   ECG    5     0.26
nsrr02   ECG    6     0.27
nsrr02   ECG    7     0.28
 ... cont'd ...  
nsrr02   ECG    1193  1.08
nsrr02   ECG    1194  1.02
nsrr02   ECG    1195  0.13
nsrr02   EEG    1     11.98
nsrr02   EEG    2     15.88
nsrr02   EEG    3     12.47
  ... cont'd ...  

Finally, destrat can combine results across multiple databases, if these are listed on the command line. For example, if we were to run different channels and individuals separately, recorded as two databases:

The first two individuals for the EEG channel:

luna s.lst 1 2 sig=EEG -o p1.db -s STATS

Then the second and third individuals for ECG and EMG:

luna s.lst 2 3 sig=ECG,EMG -o p2.db -s STATS

Finally, all individuals for SaO2:

luna s.lst sig=SaO2 -o p3.db -s STATS

Multiple databases can be specified on the destrat command line, and the output is compiled into a single file:

destrat p1.db p2.db p3.db
attaching databases...
scanning 1 of 3: p1.db
p1.db: 1 command(s), 2 individual(s), 6 variable(s), 12 values
  command #1:   c1  Mon Mar 18 16:04:45 2019    STATS   
distinct strata group(s):
  commands      : factors           : levels        : variables 
  [STATS]       : CH                : 1 level(s)    : MAX MEAN MEDIAN MIN RMS SD
                :                   :               : 
scanning 2 of 3: p2.db
p2.db: 1 command(s), 2 individual(s), 6 variable(s), 24 values
  command #1:   c1  Mon Mar 18 16:04:49 2019    STATS   
distinct strata group(s):
  commands      : factors           : levels        : variables 
  [STATS]       : CH                : 2 level(s)    : MAX MEAN MEDIAN MIN RMS SD
                :                   :               : 
scanning 3 of 3: p3.db
p3.db: 1 command(s), 3 individual(s), 6 variable(s), 18 values
  command #1:   c1  Mon Mar 18 16:04:52 2019    STATS   
distinct strata group(s):
  commands      : factors           : levels        : variables 
  [STATS]       : CH                : 1 level(s)    : MAX MEAN MEDIAN MIN RMS SD
                :                   :               : 

destrat p1.db p2.db p3.db +STATS -v MEAN RMS -r CH -p 3
ID       CH     MEAN      RMS
nsrr01   EEG    -0.301    37.801
nsrr01   SaO2   76.924    85.567
nsrr02   EEG    -0.370    41.044
nsrr02   ECG    0.006     0.274
nsrr02   EMG    -0.610    19.706
nsrr02   SaO2   77.873    86.460
nsrr03   ECG    0.004     0.300
nsrr03   EMG    3.014     18.898
nsrr03   SaO2   65.083    77.731


Currently, if drawing from multiple databases, only row-based formatting can be requested (i.e. -r and not -c).


If the same command/variable/individual/strata combination appears more than once (either within a single database, or across multiple databases), then only the last encountered will be used in the output.

Parameter files

As we have seen, Luna can accept variables in a command file. These can be defined on the command line (as variable=value pairs), but they can also be included in a parameter file, which defines these. For example, consider this file (which is in cmd/vars.txt in the tutorial folder):

alias   EEG1|EEG
alias   EEG2|EEG(sec)
alias   OXSTAT|"OX STAT"
eeg     EEG1,EEG2
myepoch 10
nrem    NREM1,NREM2,NREM3

All parameter file rows must be exactly two tab-delimited columns. (That is, be careful if copying and pasting the text from above, as the web formatting puts spaces rather than tabs.)

The first contains a variable name, the second contains the value. For example, ${myepoch} is defined as a variable meaning 10. The ${nrem} variable is defined to list all NREM sleep annotations. Parameter files can be useful for keeping command scripts generic (i.e applicable to different studies, which may have different wording for a given annotation or signal), by supplying a project-specific parameter file.

Here alias is a reserved keyword that for signals can be used to specify alternate names for the same signal. It expects a pipe-delimited set of values (2 or more) in the second column, indicating that the first value (e.g. EEG1) is the preferred name, but that EEG means that same thing. If a signal called EEG is encountered, it is replaced to EEG1 internally, and in the output.

Finally, as a shortcut, the variable ${eeg} is defined here to indicate both EEG channels, comma-delimited and labeled here by their aliases: EEG1,EEG2.

So, if this file cmd/second.txt (also in the tutorial folder) is as follows:

EPOCH len=${myepoch}
MASK all
MASK unmask-if=${nrem}
STATS sig=${eeg}

then the following command will calculate statistics for both EEG channels, label them as EEG1 and EEG2, only for 10-second epochs of either stage N1, N2 or N3 sleep, and only for the individual nsrr01:

luna s.lst nsrr01 @cmd/vars.txt -o res.db < cmd/second.txt
+++ luna | v0.26.0, 11-Nov-2021 | starting 01-Dec-2021 10:57:52 +++
input(s): s.lst
output  : res.db
commands: c1    EPOCH   len=${myepoch}
        : c2    MASK    all
        : c3    MASK    unmask-if=${nrem}
        : c4    RESTRUCTURE 
        : c5    STATS   sig=${eeg}

Processing: nsrr01 [ #1 ]
 duration: 11.22.00 | 40920 secs | clocktime 21.58.17 - 09.20.17

 signals: 14 (of 14) selected in a standard EDF file
  SaO2 | PR | EEG2 | ECG | EMG | EOG_L | EOG_R | EEG1

  Arousal (x194) | Hypopnea (x361) | N1 (x109) | N2 (x523)
  N3 (x17) | Obstructive_Apnea (x37) | R (x238) | SpO2_artifact (x59)
  SpO2_desaturation (x254) | W (x477)

  airflow=AIRFLOW | ecg=ECG | eeg=EEG2,EEG1 | effort=THOR_RES,A...
  emg=EMG | eog=EOG_L,EOG_R | hr=PR | id=nsrr01 | light=LIGHT
  oxygen=SaO2,OXSTAT | position=POSITION
   options: len=10 sig=*
  set epochs, length 10 (step 10, offset 0), 4092 epochs
   options: all sig=*
  reset all 4092 epochs to be masked
   options: sig=* unmask-if=N1,N2,N3
  set masking mode to 'unmask'
  based on N1 327 epochs match; 0 newly masked, 327 unmasked, 3765 unchanged
  total of 327 of 4092 retained
  based on N2 1569 epochs match; 0 newly masked, 1569 unmasked, 2523 unchanged
  total of 1896 of 4092 retained
  based on N3 51 epochs match; 0 newly masked, 51 unmasked, 4041 unchanged
  total of 1947 of 4092 retained
   options: sig=*
  restructuring as an EDF+: keeping 19470 records of 40920, resetting mask
  retaining 1947 epochs
   options: sig=EEG2,EEG1
 processing EEG2 ...
 processing EEG1 ...

...processed 1 EDFs, done.
...processed 1 command set(s),  all of which passed
+++ luna | finishing 01-Dec-2021 10:57:54                       +++

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