Blog Archives

DM Radio on Data Science

April 18, 2014
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A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion for DM Radio: "Still Sexy? How's that Data Scientist Gig Working Out?". The title was provocative, but the discussion mostly revolved around the rise of data science and how advanced analytics (often implemented with R) is changing the way many companies do business today. Also on the panel...

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Why writing vectorized code in R is a good idea

April 16, 2014
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As a language for statistical computing, R has always had a bias towards linear algebra, and is optimized for operations dealing in complete vectors and matrixes. This can be surprising to programmers coming to R from lower-level languages, where iterative programming (looping over the elements of a vector or matrix) is more natural and often more efficient. That's not...

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Interfacing R with Web technologies

April 14, 2014
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A new Task View on CRAN will be of anyone who needs to connect R with Web-based applications. The Web Technologies and Services Task View lists R functions and pacakges for reading data from websites (via public APIs or by scraping data from HTML packegs); for interfacing with Cloud-based platforms (including AWS); for authenticating and accessing data from social...

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Create an impressionist self-portrait from your Twitter followers

April 11, 2014
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Create an impressionist self-portrait from your Twitter followers

Here's something fun you can do with R and its interface to Twitter, the TwitteR package. An R script by CMU student Mark Patterson downloads your Twitter profile picture, counts the number of Twitter followers you have, and then creates a pointillist version of your profile picture with as many dots as you have followers. Here's mine: Note that...

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R 3.1.0 "Spring Dance" is released

April 10, 2014
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As announced this morning on mailing list, R 3.1.0 (codenamed "Spring Dance") has been released. The source code is available now; as of this writing binary versions haven't yet appeared on CRAN or propagated to the mirrors, but I expect they'll be available in a day or two. You can check out the full list of changes in the...

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Animated Choropleths in R

April 9, 2014
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Animated Choropleths in R

Ari Lamstein has updated his choroplethr package with a new capability for creating animated data maps. I can't embed the animated version here, but click the image below to see an animation of US counties by average household income, from the richest to the poorest by percentile. (The code behind the animation is available on github.) The chloroplethr package...

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In case you missed it: March 2014 roundup

April 7, 2014
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In case you missed them, here are some articles from March of particular interest to R users: Francis Smart offers five excellent reasons to use R, and notes that R is the top Google Search for statistical software. Revolution Analytics is offering R training for SAS users in Singapore and online. The number of R user groups worldwide continues...

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R for Open Science

April 4, 2014
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FastCompany magazine recently published an in-depth feature on Open Science, with a focus on the R language and the ROpenSci project. If you're not familiar with ROpenSci, the article gives a nice introduction from Ted Hart, a member of the ROpenSci development team: A big sea change was the need to meet digital formatting requirements of scientific data. Hart...

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Seven quick facts about R

April 2, 2014
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I've been spending the week at the Gartner Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit in Las Vegas, and R has been quite prominent here. Of course, R got namechecked several times on the panel about the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics, and several of the regular talks mentioned R as well. I gave a short presentation on R and...

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R: Free, Popular, Powerful, Flexible and Supported

March 31, 2014
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R: Free, Popular, Powerful, Flexible and Supported

Francis Smart offers five excellent reasons to use R, in a well-researched post ideal for sharing with anyone thinking about making the switch to R. (You might also share this YouTube video for a quick 90-second introduction to R.) The post also includes a novel analysis of interest in R, as tracked by Google Trends. Given its single-letter name,...

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