Delft Workshop 2017

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A guide to use Dynamo during the TU Delft workshop for Cryo-EM. This covers the afternoon session of the 6th of September of 2017.

Preinstalling the software

We suggest students to download, install and test the software before departing for the workshop. Data should also be downloaded beforehand. Also note that you might need admin privileges to complete the steps below. Make sure that you have access to admin credentials on your laptop.

You can use Dynamo with or without Matlab (standalone modus). We advice you to use it under Matlab.

Downloading Dynamo

Download the package in these google links for linux or Mac respectively. After download (~4Gb), proceed to install and test

To install it, first create a folder in your filesystem in an arbitrary location of your choice:

mkdir <path to installation folder>

and untar the downloaded tarball into it:

tar -xf <tar file>  -C <path to installation folder>

Testing your standalone installation

Activate your installation to work in standalone modus by typing in a Linux shell the activation script:

 source <path to installation>/

or correspondingly for Mac:

 source <path to installation>/

and then, to test the activated installation, just type in the terminal:


You should get the standalone Dynamo prompt in your terminal:

Dynamo >

It might take some time till it is operative (between seconds and minutes).

Free license for Matlab

If the standalone installation works, you don't need to install further elements. However, we advice you to preinstall Matlab on your laptop. This makes the work with Dynamo much easier

You can get a trial version of Matlab and install it on your laptop. The license will be valid for 30 days. After installing Matlab, you can download the Dynamo version for your platform.

Testing your Matlab installation

Inside the Matlab shell type:

 run <path to installation>/dynamo_activate.m

Virtual machines

If your system does not recognize the libraries provided in your package, you always have the option of installing a Virtual Machine in your system that emulates the Ubuntu distribution of linux. In this environment, Dynamo will run without errors, although the performance of the graphics system will be severely decreased. We recommend to use this device as a last resource.

Download an Ubuntu distribution

The version 16.04.3 of Ubuntu can be download as an iso file here

Download the virtual machine

A virtual machine can be downloaded here. A detailed walkthrough on the diverse steps can be found here

Instructions for Windows users

Windows is not the native development platform of Dynamo. We provide Windows versions of it (tested on Windows 7), but cannot guarantee that they'll work in other Windows systems.

The standalone for Windows will be uploaded in this google drive link .

Activating the Windows standalone

In DOS terminal write:

C:\ <path to the Dynamo installation>\dynamo_activate_windows.bat 

then open a Dynamo terminal by typing in the DOS


If it doesn't work, type:

 set PATH=%PATH%;%MCR_ROOT%\runtime\win64

and then again

C:\ <path to the Dynamo installation>\dynamo_activate_windows.bat .

Preparing your Matlab in Windows

If the standalone fails, a Matlab trial version should be used. Please download it from Mathworks. In order to check if your system has all the libraries needed to run Dynamo, write in the Matlab shell

run <path to installation>/dynamo_activate.m

If the activation fails, you need to compile (i.e. 'mex') some files. These requieres to have a compiler on your system. Write

mex -setup

in the Matlab shell.

Installing a C++ compiler for windows

This will direct you to install a c++ compiler specific for the Matlab-Windows (MinGW-w64). You just need to follow the instructions on screen. Should take less than three minutes.

When the compiler is installed, run

mex -setup

to check that the system recognizes it. Then run dynamo_activate.m again.


Data should be downloaded beforehand:


Accessing Delft servers

There is the possibility of connecting to a GPU machine provided by TU Delft. The machine has 8 GPUs installed. Number crunching will be extremely fast here, although graphical response will be probably sluggish when visualizing tomograms.

Accessing the remote machine

For linux and Mac users, open a terminal on your laptop and type

ssh -Y <user> 

User accounts will be distributed during the workshop.

Windows users do the same through their preinstalled virtual box.

Opening a Linux terminal in the remote machine

We need to create a command terminal. Right click on the screen and select Open Terminal in the menu . A Linux command window will popup. You can check the GPUS in the machine through writing:


Starting Dynamo

In the Linux terminal on , we first need to make Matlab accessible invoking the corresponding module:

module load matlab

and then open it through:

matlab & 

it will take some secons. Then, in the Matlab window write:

 run <PATH TO DYNAMO> /dynamo/dynamo_activate.m 

This will activate Dynamo in the current Matlab session.


Introduction to tomography and subtomogram averaging

30 minutes of presentation to introduce tomography, subtomogram averaging and Dynamo.

Tutorial 1: Getting started

Morning session.

on screen presentation/hands-on practical. The presentation will loosely the introductory materials in:

  • tutorial on basic elements: help, data and metadata formats.
  • tutorial on the basic concept in Dynamo alignment: the project.

After the introduction of these general concepts, will follow together the basic hands-on tutorial of Dynamo.

Advanced getting started

In the afternoon session, participants will proceed to work on their own with the advanced introduction on a reduced data set from a real tomogram.

Further walkthroughs

Further walkthroughs are available for participants that complete this, they can be chosen according to the particular interests:

template matching
creation of 3d scenes


  1. Daniel Castaño-Díez, BioEM Lab, University of Basel
  2. Paula Pérez-Navarro, C-CINA, University of Basel
  3. Cynthia Taveneau, Institut Curie, Paris