Working with [incr tsdb()] Test Suites

[incr tsdb()] is the canonical software for managing test suites—collections of test items for judging the performance of an implemented grammar—within DELPH-IN. While the original purpose of test suites is to aid in grammar development, they are also useful more generally for batch processing. PyDelphin has good support for a range of [incr tsdb()] functionality. Low-level operations on test suite databases are defined in delphin.tsdb while delphin.itsdb builds on top of delphin.tsdb to provide a more user-friendly API and support for processing (e.g, parsing) test suites.

There are several words in use to describe test suites:


a test suite containing only input items and static annotations, such as for indicating grammaticality or listing exemplified phenomena, ready to be processed


a test suite augmented with analyses from a grammar; useful for inspecting the grammar’s competence and performance, or for building treebanks

test suite

a general term for both skeletons and profiles

Also note that delphin.itsdb uses SQL-like terminology for database entities while delphin.tsdb usually uses the older relational database terms (to be consistent with [incr tsdb()]):

tsdb term

itsdb term

Casual term



Test Suite


tsdb/gold/mrs/, tsdb/skeletons/mrs/









“relations file”





i-input :string (in a schema)



“item file”, etc.





11@unknown@formal@none@1@S@It rained.@…



“field”, “column”


This guide covers the delphin.itsdb module and expects that you’ve imported it as follows:

>>> from delphin import itsdb

See also

Loading and Inspecting Test Suites

Loading a test suite is as simple as creating a TestSuite object with the directory as its argument:

>>> ts = itsdb.TestSuite('~/grammars/erg/tsdb/gold/mrs')

The TestSuite instance loads the database schema and uses it to inspect the data in tables. The schema can be inspected via the TestSuite.schema attribute:

>>> list(ts.schema)
['item', 'analysis', 'phenomenon', 'parameter', 'set', 'item-phenomenon', 'item-set', 'run', 'parse', 'result', 'rule', 'output', 'edge', 'tree', 'decision', 'preference', 'update', 'fold', 'score']
>>> [ for field in ts.schema['phenomenon']]
['p-id', 'p-name', 'p-supertypes', 'p-presupposition', 'p-interaction', 'p-purpose', 'p-restrictions', 'p-comment', 'p-author', 'p-date']

Key lookups on the test suite return the Table whose name is the given key. Note that the table name is as it appears in the schema and not necessarily the table’s filename (e.g., in case the table is compressed and the filename has a .gz extension).

>>> len(ts['item'])
>>> ts['item'][0]['i-input']
'It rained.'

Iterating over a table yields rows from the table. A Row object stores the raw string data internally (accessed via, but upon iteration or column lookup it is cast depending on the datatype specified in the schema.

>>> row = next(iter(ts['item']))
('11', 'unknown', 'formal', 'none', '1', 'S', 'It rained.', '', '', '', '1', '2', 'Det regnet.', 'oe', '15-10-2006')
>>> tuple(row)
(11, 'unknown', 'formal', 'none', 1, 'S', 'It rained.', None, None, None, 1, 2, 'Det regnet.', 'oe', datetime.datetime(2006, 10, 15, 0, 0))
>>> row['i-input']
'It rained.'

The method allows for iterating over a restricted subset of columns:

>>> for row in ts['item'].select('i-id', 'i-input'):
...     print(tuple(row))
(11, 'It rained.')
(21, 'Abrams barked.')
(31, 'The window opened.')

Modifying Test Suite Data

Test suite data can be modified or extended by interacting with the Table instance. The make_record() function of delphin.tsdb may be useful for creating new items, or the Table.update method for modifying single rows.

>>> from delphin import tsdb
>>> items = ts['item']
>>> # find the next available i-id
>>> next_i_id = items[-1]['i-id'] + 1
>>> # define the data
>>> colmap = {'i-id': next_i_id, 'i-input': '...'}
>>> # add a new row
>>> items.append(tsdb.make_record(colmap, items.fields))
>>> # oops, forgot a field; reassign that last row
>>> colmap['i-wf'] = 0
>>> items[-1] = tsdb.make_record(colmap, items.fields))
>>> # oops it should be 1, just fix that one field
>>> items.update(-1, {'i-wf': 1})
>>> # write to disk
>>> ts.commit()

TSQL Queries Over Test Suites

Sometimes the desired fields exist in different tables, such as when one wants to pair an input item identifier with its results—a one-to-many mapping. In these cases, the delphin.tsql module can help.

>>> from delphin import tsql
>>> for row in'i-id mrs', ts):
...     print(tuple(row))
(11, '[ LTOP: h0 INDEX: e2 [ e SF: prop TENSE: past MOOD: indicative PROG: - PERF: - ] RELS: < [ _rain_v_1<3:10> LBL: h1 ARG0: e2 ] > HCONS: < h0 qeq h1 > ICONS: < > ]')
(21, '[ LTOP: h0 INDEX: e2 [ e SF: prop TENSE: past MOOD: indicative PROG: - PERF: - ] RELS: < [ proper_q<0:6> LBL: h4 ARG0: x3 [ x PERS: 3 NUM: sg IND: + ] RSTR: h5 BODY: h6 ]  [ named<0:6> LBL: h7 CARG: "Abrams" ARG0: x3 ]  [ _bark_v_1<7:14> LBL: h1 ARG0: e2 ARG1: x3 ] > HCONS: < h0 qeq h1 h5 qeq h7 > ICONS: < > ]')
(31, '[ LTOP: h0 INDEX: e2 [ e SF: prop TENSE: past MOOD: indicative PROG: - PERF: - ] RELS: < [ _the_q<0:3> LBL: h4 ARG0: x3 [ x PERS: 3 NUM: sg IND: + ] RSTR: h5 BODY: h6 ]  [ _window_n_1<4:10> LBL: h7 ARG0: x3 ]  [ _open_v_1<11:18> LBL: h1 ARG0: e2 ARG1: x3 ] > HCONS: < h0 qeq h1 h5 qeq h7 > ICONS: < > ]')

See also

Writing Test Suites to Disk

When modifying test suites as described above, the TestSuite.commit method is how the changes get written to disk. This is similar to how relational databases perform “transactions”, but currently PyDelphin does not ensure consistency in the same way.

For more control over how data gets written to disk, see the delphin.tsdb module’s write() and write_database() functions.

See also

The mkprof command is a more versatile method of creating test suites at the command line.

Processing Test Suites with ACE

PyDelphin has the ability to process test suites using ACE, similar to the art utility and [incr tsdb()] itself. The simplest method is to pass in a running ACEProcess instance to TestSuite.process—the TestSuite class will determine if the processor is for parsing, transfer, or generation (using the ACEProcessor.task attribute) and select the appropriate inputs from the test suite.

>>> from delphin import ace
>>> ts = itsdb.TestSuite('~/grammars/INDRA/tsdb/skeletons/matrix')
>>> with ace.ACEParser('~/grammars/INDRA/indra.dat') as cpu:
...     ts.process(cpu)
NOTE: parsed 2 / 3 sentences, avg 887k, time 0.04736s

By default the processed data will be written to disk as it is processed so the in-memory TestSuite object doesn’t get too large. The buffer_size parameter of TestSuite.process can be used to write to disk more or less frequently or not at all.

When doing generation or transfer the input to the processor is in the table that will be overwritten. To avoid loss of data, the source parameter takes another TestSuite instance that provides the inputs. The delphin.commands.mkprof() function is useful for creating an empty test suite for storing the results, but note that it expects the test suite paths instead of TestSuite instances.

>>> from delphin import commands
>>> src_path = '~/grammars/jacy/tsdb/current/mrs'
>>> tgt_path = '~/grammars/jacy/tsdb/current/mrs-gen'
>>> commands.mkprof(tgt_path, source=src_path)
    9067 bytes  relations
   15573 bytes  item
       0 bytes  analysis
>>> src_ts = itsdb.TestSuite(src_path)
>>> tgt_ts = itsdb.TestSuite(tgt_path)
>>> with ace.ACEGenerator('~/grammars/jacy/jacy-0.9.30.dat') as cpu:
...     tgt_ts.process(cpu, source=src_ts)
NOTE: 75 passive, 361 active edges in final generation chart; built 89 passives total. [1 results]
NOTE: 35 passive, 210 active edges in final generation chart; built 37 passives total. [1 results]

PyDelphin also has the ability to do full-forest parsing. In this mode, results (with derivation trees, MRSs, etc.) do not get enumerated in the profile but the edges of analyses are stored instead. The results of parsing in this mode can be used for full-forest treebanking.

>>> with ace.ACEParser('~/grammars/erg.dat', full_forest=True) as cpu:
...     ts.process(cpu)


TSDBWarning: Invalid date field

This warning occurs when PyDelphin tries to cast a value with the :date datatype when the raw value is not an acceptable date format (see delphin.tsdb.cast() for an explanation). Practically this means that the date will not be usable for things like TSQL conditions, but also note that it can cause data loss when writing a profile containing invalid dates to disk as PyDelphin will not write invalid data. Low-level operations that do not cast the value, such as from the delphin.tsdb module, may be able to write the raw string without data loss, but it is better to just fix the invalid dates.