Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

CrystalMaker 10.4


The much-awaited CrystalMaker 10.4 is now shipping - complete with full “Dark Mode”.

CrystalMaker and CrystalDiffract are real 64-bit Mac programs, written in Cocoa/Objective-C, with beautiful real Mac interfaces. They’re not Windows or Unix applications reskinned via Qt, Java, wxWidgets they’re the real deal: 100% pure Mac. Thus they are able to offer:-

  • Retina display
  • Multi-touch
  • Force touch
  • Haptic feedback
  • Touch bar interface (MacBook Pro)
  • Dark Mode
  • Full-screen mode and Spaces
  • Quick Look
  • Finder thumbnails
  • QuickTime video
  • Apple Help
  • Code-signed, sandboxed, with “hardened runtime” for maximum security

CrystalMaker 10.4 has over 60 new features, of which the most-important are probably:-

  1. Dark Mode
  2. Sleek new structures library with integrated CrystalViewer (1,100 structures; fully customizable)
  3. New energy-modelling engine: makes designing your own molecules quick and easy, with vibrational spectra simulation.
  4. Live powder diffraction: link CrystalMaker 10.4 with CrystalDiffract 6.8 so that editing a crystal in CrystalMaker automatically updates its simulated powder diffraction pattern in CrystalDiffract.
  5. Interpolate Structures command - makes animating structural behaviour smooth and seamless.
  6. Customizable Atoms Inspector and coordinates display.
  7. Spring-loaded sidebars: move the mouse to the edge of the screen to show the relevant sidebar (works great in full-screen mode).
  8. Powerful video sizing/compression options.
  9. Fat sticks display option (great for emphasising structural channels).
  10. Advanced control over axial vectors with scaling, fonts, positioning, inset etc.

More details are available from the download page

They also have a set of video tutorials available.

CrystalMaker X lets you import data from over 40 different formats: with instant display and powerful customization. CrystalMaker can handle including multi-structure files such as DL_POLY HISTORY - use CrystalMaker's synchronization and animation capabilities to rapidly understand structural behaviour, lattice dynamics, or visualize the trajectory of a simulation. CrystalMaker X can also handle truly massive structures. Take advantage of our unique "Depth Profiling" tool, to rapidly scan ares of interest in massive structures - ideal for characterizing the results from computer models.


TS Calc The mathematical equations tool


TS Calc is a document based application and its documents can be realized and used as calculation models for specific mathematical technical problems. It is a complete different approach to solve math problems respect to the usual one using spreadsheets.



Optimizing colormaps with consideration for color vision deficiency to enable accurate interpretation of scientific data


Around 4% of the population suffer from colour blindness in one for or another with red/green colour blindness being the most common and sadly in many plots, graphs, presentations little effort is made to make things easier for those people with colour blindness.

Color blindness, also known as color vision deficiency (CVD), is the decreased ability to see color or differences in color. Simple tasks such as selecting ripe fruit, choosing clothing, and reading traffic lights can be more challenging. Color blindness may also make some educational activities more difficult.

A recent publication seeks to address this need, Optimizing colormaps with consideration for color vision deficiency to enable accurate interpretation of scientific data DOI

While there have been some attempts to make aesthetically pleasing or subjectively tolerable colormaps for those with CVD, our goal was to make optimized colormaps for the most accurate perception of scientific data by as many viewers as possible. We developed a Python module, cmaputil, to create CVD-optimized colormaps, which imports colormaps and modifies them to be perceptually uniform in CVD-safe colorspace while linearizing and maximizing the brightness range. The module is made available to the science community to enable others to easily create their own CVD-optimized colormaps.



LICHEM: Layered Interacting CHEmical Models


An update to LICHEM: Layered Interacting CHEmical Models has been published DOI

LICHEM is an open-source (GPLv3) interface between QM and MM software so that QM/MM calculations can be performed with polarizable and frozen electron density force fields. Functionality is also present for standard point-charge based force fields, pure MM, and pure QM calculations.

Available from GitHub

Note, On OSX machines, the SEDI, TEX, BIB, and CXXFLAGS variables will need to be modified.


Workshop on Computational Tools for Drug Discovery


Registration opened just before Christmas and apparently there were a number of people sign up over the festive period. Remember there are a limited number of places and it is first come first served.

Registration and full details are here.

Computational Tools Flyer

This workshop is intended to provide expert tutorials to get you started and show what can be achieved with the software.


GROMAC 2019 released


I just noticed GROMACS 2019 was released on Dec 31 2018.

GROMACS is one of the major software packages for the simulation of biological macromolecules. It is aimed at performing the simulation of large, biologically relevant systems, with a focus on both being efficient and flexible to allow the research of a number of different systems

Several important performance improvements

  • Simulations now automatically run using update groups of atoms whose coordinate updates have only intra-group dependencies. These can include both constraints and virtual sites. This improves performance by eliminating overheads during the update, at no cost.
  • Intel integrated GPUs are now supported with OpenCL for offloading non-bonded interactions.
  • PME long-ranged interactions can now also run on a single AMD GPU using OpenCL, which means many fewer CPU cores are needed for good performance with such hardware.

Release notes here


Macs in Chemistry Annual Site Review


At the end of each year I have a look at the website analytics to see which items were the most popular.

Over the year there were 70,000 unique visitors with 25% visiting the site on multiple occasions. The US provided 30% of the visitors and the UK 7% with Germany, India and France around 5%. As you might expect the majority were Mac users (56%), but there were also Windows (25%), iOS (12%), and Android (2.5%) users.

Of the Mac users, 51% are now using 10.14 (Mojave), 27% 10.13 with all older versions each well below 10%.

Chrome and Safari were the preferred browsers with both around 40%.

The most popular web pages were (other than the main page)

The popularity of the Fortran on a Mac page has continued for several years now and it has been updated several times with user provided information.

The most viewed blog pages in 2018 were

The update to Mojave seems to have been another daily smooth transition, with most software developers reporting no major issues.

A couple of recent additions have generated significant interest.

As has an article I wrote on my thoughts on scientific software


A Jupyter Kernel for Swift


I'm constantly impressed by the expansion of Jupyter it is rapidly becoming the first-choice platform for interactive computing.

The Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text. Uses include: data cleaning and transformation, numerical simulation, statistical modeling, data visualization, machine learning, and much more.

A latest expansion is a Jupyter Kernel for Swift, intended to make it possible to use Jupyter with the Swift for TensorFlow project.

Swift for TensorFlow is a new way to develop machine learning models. It gives you the power of TensorFlow directly integrated into the Swift programming language. With Swift, you can write the following imperative code, and Swift automatically turns it into a single TensorFlow Graph and runs it with the full performance of TensorFlow Sessions on CPU, GPU and TPU.

Requires MacOS 10.13.5 or later, with Xcode 10.0 beta or later


The International Year of the Periodic Table


2019 is the international year of the Periodic Table

1869 is considered as the year of discovery of the Periodic System by Dmitri Mendeleev. 2019 will be the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and has therefore been proclaimed the "International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT2019)" by the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO.

If you want to brush up on the table there are a couple mobile apps to help you.

Periodic Table
The Elements in Action
The Periodic Table Project

You can follow events for the year on Twitter