Blog Archives

Travel grants and prizes for R/Finance 2011

December 28, 2010
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If you've been thinking about heading to Chicago in April for the R/Finance conference, here's another reason to go: posting for the committee, Dirk Eddelbuettel announced last week that thanks to a favourable response from sponsors, the conference organizers can now offer: a competition for best paper, which given the focus of the conference will award for both an...

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Did you feel that?

December 23, 2010
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Did you feel that?

There was a small earthquake in northern England on Tuesday. Barry Rowlingson felt the quake (it rattled the photographs on his wall), but didn't know how big of a quake it was because he didn't know how close he was to the epicentre. The British Geological Survey hadn't yet announced the quake, but did give access to seismograph readings,...

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Citizen Data Journalism: Mexico Homicides

December 23, 2010
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Citizen Data Journalism: Mexico Homicides

I've recently praised some mainstream media outlets like the New York Times and New Scientist for leading the charge on data journalism. But you don't need to be a large organization to find news in data. With open data sources, and open-source data analysis tools, individuals can make newsworthy discoveries. Diego Valle-Jones has been investigating the impact of the...

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Forbes: R is a name you need to know in 2011

December 22, 2010
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The December 20 issue of Forbes magazine, on newsstands now, includes a column about R on page 128 as part of the "Name You Need to Know in 2011" feature. It's basically an excerpt from this blog post by Steve McNally and its comments, and includes quotes from Norman Nie of Revolution Analytics, Bill Alpert of Barron's, and Brandon...

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How Orbitz uses Hadoop and R to optimize hotel search

December 21, 2010
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How Orbitz uses Hadoop and R to optimize hotel search

Positional bias — the tendency for users to preferentially select results in the first few positions of a search — is a big issue for all kinds of search engines. But for online travel site Orbitz the stakes are higher than for a traditional Web search engine: if a customer chooses the first-listed hotel in a search for accommodations,...

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In case you missed it: November Roundup

December 17, 2010
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In case you missed them, here are some articles from November of particular interest to R users. Dirk Eddelbuettel and Romain Francois went to Google to talk about integrating R (using Rcpp, for example), and we gave a review of the video presentation. R co-creator Ross Ihaka wins a Lifetime Achievement Award in Open Source. Revolution has job openings...

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Programming languages, ranked by popularity

December 17, 2010
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Programming languages, ranked by popularity

In a presentation to the Chicago R User Group last night, Drew Conway used his new Infochimps package in R to assess the relative popularity of programming languages. Drew used the word.stats function in the Infochimps package to count the frequency of common computer languages mentioned in Twitter messages, and displayed the results in this bar chart: It's not...

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R 2.12.1 is out

December 16, 2010
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As promised, the latest patch to R is out with the release of R 2.12.1, as announced today by the R Core Team. If you build R yourself, sources are available now at your local CRAN mirror, and binaries for Windows, Mac and Linux will be available in the next few days. There are a few new features: The...

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Data Driven Journalism

December 15, 2010
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Last night at the Bay Area UseR Group meeting, Peter Aldhous, San Francisco Bureau Chief of New Scientist Magazine, gave an inspiring presentation about Data Driven Journalism. Even though the newspaper industry is faltering as a business model, there's a beacon of light: journalists can be the driving force behind bringing the meaning in the huge data sets that...

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Facebook’s Social Network Graph

December 14, 2010
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Facebook’s Social Network Graph

Paul Butler, an intern on Facebook’s data infrastructure engineering team, was interested in visualizing the "locality of friendship". Luckily, he has some great data to work with: Facebook's social network of the friendships between its 500 million members. But visualizing that much data can be a challenge in its own right -- it takes skill to draw meaning from...

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