Basic set of software for an open assessor

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What are the basic software that should be in the computer of an open assessor? The selection should be based on the following criteria:

  1. The selection should ensure that an assessor does not run into situation where the planned work cannot be done due to lack of software.
  2. The selection should be small enough to minimise updating and the need to learn new software.
  3. The software should be open source and freely available if possible, because we want to make sure that all open assessors can utilise the same tools.


  • See recommendations by KTL: [1] [2].
  • This guidance should be coherent with the guidance for the Risk Group (the research group lead by Jouni Tuomisto, Department of Environmental Health, KTL, Finland)?

Suggested but not accepted software and reasoning

  • PC-Axis for representing data from e.g. Statistics Finland. This is an ad-hoc stand-alone Windows software for a not-so-widely used data format. Instead, universal data formats and tools should be used, e.g. CSV format and Open Office.
  • Matlab (computing): Octave is an open source clone that does practically the same as Matlab. Octave should be used instead.
  • S-Plus (statistics): R is an open source clone of S-Plus. R should be used instead.
  • MS Office (an office software): Open Office is an open source office software with an international standard file format. In addition, opens and saves MS Office files without problems. Open Office should be used instead.


Each computer should have the following basic software. Note that there are probably newer versions that those mentioned on the list.

  • Open Office 3.0 (office software) Download
  • Notepad++ 4.8.2 (text editor for txt, xml and other files) Download
  • Analytica 4.2 (Monte Carlo simulation and modelling) only a player if free of charge Download
  • R 2.X (statistics) Download
  • Mozilla Firefox (web browser) Download
  • Mozilla Thunderbird (email) Download
    • LookOut Add-on (fixing software for problems that are caused by MS Outlook(.dat -files) Download
  • Skype (web calls and conferences) Download
  • Uninet (Bayes models, especially belief networks)Download
  • Excalibur (expert elicitation and combination) Download
  • RefWorks (reference database)
  • Foxit Reader (PDF reader) Download
  • CutePDF Writer (for making PDF files from any Windows software) Download
  • Filzip (file compression) DownloadD↷
  • F-Secure (virus protection and firewall) not free of charge
  • VPN (virtual private network for secure connection; for laptops only) not free of charge
  • Paint.NET (picture editor) Download
  • Octave (mostly Matlab-compatible, but freely redistributable language) Download
  • Benchmark dose software BMDS 2.X Download

Additional software for specific needs (may be expensive)

  • ArcGIS (maps and other geographical info)

Commercial software for purposes that are covered with freeware (you may use these if you really want to)

Basic modelling tool


What is such a tool that can be used as the basic modelling tool for open assessors? It should fulfill the following criteria:

  • it fulfils the criteria for the general software for open assessors (see above),
  • it can perform simple and complex calculations,
  • it is modular in its basic structure,
  • it can do graphical representations of causal links between variables.


The system must be based on a group of different software, as no single software seems to fulfil all requirements. Thus, easy connections between software is a crucial issue.

The software should be able to do

  • Monte Carlo
  • Gibbs sampling
  • BBN
  • influence diagrams
  • database searches
  • distributed models
  • variable structure according to open assessment ----#(number):: . Does this require something else than separation of causality and data? And what does this mean in mathematics? --Jouni 14:08, 5 July 2008 (EEST) (type: truth; paradigms: science: comment)
  • Regression analysis

The basic version sould be able to

  • calculate
  • edit a model
  • store computing results
  • search data from a database


Current candidates (no validation and testing yet for the whole system).

  • Analytica
  • R
  • Uninet