Simphony: simulating large-scale, rhythmic data

Jordan M. Singer, Darwin Y. Fu, and Jacob J. Hughey



Simulated data are invaluable for assessing a computational method’s ability to distinguish signal from noise. Although many biological systems show rhythmicity, there is no general-purpose tool to simulate large-scale, rhythmic data. Here we present Simphony, an R package for simulating data from experiments in which the abundances of rhythmic and non-rhythmic features (e.g., genes) are measured at multiple time points in multiple conditions. Simphony has parameters for specifying experimental design and each feature’s rhythmic properties (e.g., shape, amplitude, and phase). In addition, Simphony can sample measurements from Gaussian and negative binomial distributions, the latter of which approximates read counts from next-generation sequencing data. We show an example of using Simphony to benchmark a method for detecting rhythms. Our results suggest that Simphony can aid experimental design and computational method development. Simphony is thoroughly documented and freely available at