3.3 Troubleshooting

WOMBAT has undergone fairly rigorous testing, more so for some models than for others. However, there are bound to be errors and inconsistencies – especially early in its development.

Errors in the input files are the most likely source of problems which are not a program bug. Some of these are trapped, leading to a programmed error stop (with a screen message of “exit WOMBAT” or “Programmed (error) stop for WOMBAT encountered”). Almost certainly, this is due to erroneous input, in particular a mistake in the parameter file ! You should be able to figure out what is wrong from the accompanying brief error message and fix it. Others might simply cause the program to abort.

If – after thoroughly checking your parameter file and other input files – you think you have encountered a genuine error in the program, please submit a ‘bug report’, as specified below1.

To submit an informative ‘bug report’, please carry out the following steps:

1. Download the latest version of WOMBAT which has been compiled with optimisation switched off, and checks switched on from

and extract the executable wombat_chk as described above. This is a 32-bit version, which should run on both 32- and 64-bit Linux machines.
2. Use wombat_chk for run(s) to demonstrate the error.
3. Try to recreate the problem using one of the test data sets and pedigree files supplied. Edit these as appropriate to generate the structure causing the problem if necessary, e.g. delete or add records or effects in the model.
Only if absolutely necessary, use a small subset of your data and pedigree files – the smaller the better – but definitely less than 100 animals in the pedigree and less than 500 records !
4. Use a new, ‘clean’ directory for the run(s).
5. Run wombat_chk with the -v or -d option.
Remember that wombat_chk is compiled with checking switched on and thus will require several times longer than wombat for the same task.
6. Capture all screen output using the script command.
7. tar the complete directory and gzip it (or use any other common compression utility), and send it to me.
I need all input files, output files and the typescript file !
8. If you have any theory on what might be the problem, please tell me.

This may sound like a lot of work, but is necessary to for me to even begin to try understanding what is going on !

1Never send any .doc, .rtf, etc files !