++ed by:

8 PAUSE users
10 non-PAUSE users.

Christopher Fields
and 1 contributors


Bio::SearchDist - A perl wrapper around Sean Eddy's histogram object


  $dis = Bio::SearchDist->new();
  foreach $score ( @scores ) {

  if( $dis->fit_evd() ) {
    foreach $score ( @scores ) {
      $evalue = $dis->evalue($score);
      print "Score $score had an evalue of $evalue\n";
  } else {
    warn("Could not fit histogram to an EVD!");


The Bio::SearchDist object is a wrapper around Sean Eddy's excellent histogram object. The histogram object can bascially take in a number of scores which are sensibly distributed somewhere around 0 that come from a supposed Extreme Value Distribution. Having add all the scores from a database search via the add_score method you can then fit a extreme value distribution using fit_evd(). Once fitted you can then get out the evalue for each score (or a new score) using evalue($score).

The fitting procedure is better described in Sean Eddy's own code (available from http://hmmer.janelia.org/, or in the histogram.h header file in Compile/SW). Bascially it fits a EVD via a maximum likelhood method with pruning of the top end of the distribution so that real positives are discarded in the fitting procedure. This comes from an originally idea of Richard Mott's and the likelhood fitting is from a book by Lawless [should ref here].

The object relies on the fact that the scores are sensibly distributed around about 0 and that integer bins are sensible for the histogram. Scores based on bits are often ideal for this (bits based scoring mechanisms is what this histogram object was originally designed for).


The original code this was based on comes from the histogram module as part of the HMMer2 package. Look at http://hmmer.janelia.org/

Its use in Bioperl is via the Compiled XS extension which is cared for by Ewan Birney (birney@ebi.ac.uk). Please contact Ewan first about the use of this module


Mailing Lists

User feedback is an integral part of the evolution of this and other Bioperl modules. Send your comments and suggestions preferably to one of the Bioperl mailing lists. Your participation is much appreciated.

  bioperl-l@bioperl.org                  - General discussion
  http://bioperl.org/wiki/Mailing_lists  - About the mailing lists


Please direct usage questions or support issues to the mailing list:


rather than to the module maintainer directly. Many experienced and reponsive experts will be able look at the problem and quickly address it. Please include a thorough description of the problem with code and data examples if at all possible.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to the Bioperl bug tracking system to help us keep track the bugs and their resolution. Bug reports can be submitted via the web:



The rest of the documentation details each of the object methods. Internal methods are usually preceded with a _


 Title   : add_score
 Usage   : $dis->add_score(300);
 Function: Adds a single score to the distribution
 Returns : nothing
 Args    :


 Title   : fit_evd
 Usage   : $dis->fit_evd();
 Function: fits an evd to the current distribution
 Returns : 1 if it fits successfully, 0 if not
 Args    :


 Title   : fit_Gaussian
 Usage   :
 Example :
 Returns :
 Args    :


 Title   : evalue
 Usage   : $eval = $dis->evalue($score)
 Function: Returns the evalue of this score
 Returns : float
 Args    :


 Title   : _engine
 Usage   : $obj->_engine($newval)
 Function: underlyine bp_sw:: histogram engine
 Returns : value of _engine
 Args    : newvalue (optional)