A Singularity image is an essential part of creating a reproducible container and, eventually, reproducible research. This section explains the steps to create a singularity definition file, build an image, and run a container. The two primary sources for further discussion and details include:

Setting up the environment

In order to build a singularity image, you need to have singularity installed on your system, and you need to have a root privilege to build an image. There are sufficient instructions to do that (for example, here). You can also use Sylab Remote Builder services.

Definition File

The Definition File (CausalGPS_rstudio.def) is the recipe for building the image. Please note that we build it upon [rocker/rstudio:4.0.4] image. For more details about generating a Definition File, please refer to Singularity User Guide.

Building Singularity Image

To build the image, download the Definition File (CausalGPS_rstudio.def) and run the following:

$ sudo singularity build CausalGPS_rstudio.sif CausalGPS_rstudio.def 

Running the command will generate a Singularity image (CausalGPS_rstudio.sif). You can double-check the CausalGPS package version by running the image using the following command:

singularity run CausalGPS_rstudio.sif 

This will result in the following format:

Container was created Thu 03 Feb 2022 07:54:45 PM UTC
CausalGPS package installed (ver: [1]’)

Run an R Session

If you want to use R in a console, you can follow these steps:

singularity shell CausalGPS_rstudio.sif

and then run R.

Singularity> R

This will provide the following results and will activate R.

R version 4.0.4 (2021-02-15) -- "Lost Library Book"
Copyright (C) 2021 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing
Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit)

R is free software and comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
You are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions.
Type 'license()' or 'licence()' for distribution details.

R is a collaborative project with many contributors.
Type 'contributors()' for more information and
'citation()' on how to cite R or R packages in publications.

Type 'demo()' for some demos, 'help()' for on-line help, or
'help.start()' for an HTML browser interface to help.
Type 'q()' to quit R.


Now, you can run an R command. For example:

> utils::packageVersion("CausalGPS")
# [1] ‘’

Run a Rstudio Session

You can also open an RStudio session in your browser by following these steps mentioned in Rocker Project (Singularity).

mkdir -p run var-lib-rstudio-server

printf 'provider=sqlite\ndirectory=/var/lib/rstudio-server\n' > database.conf

singularity exec --bind run:/run,var-lib-rstudio-server:/var/lib/rstudio-server,database.conf:/etc/rstudio/database.conf CausalGPS_rstudio.sif rserver --www-address=

Open your browser and enter this URL: