Blog Archives

Subsetting data

May 6, 2013
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Subsetting data

At School we use R across many courses, because students are supposed to use statistics under a variety of contexts. Imagine their disappointment when they pass stats and discovered that R and statistics haven’t gone away! When students start working with real data sets one of their first stumbling blocks is subsetting data. We have

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Learning to code in R

April 25, 2013
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Learning to code in R

It used to be that the one of the first decisions to make when learning to program was between compiled (e.g. C or FORTRAN) and interpreted (e.g. Python) languages. In my opinion these days one would have to be a masochist to learn with a compiled language: the extra compilation time and obscure errors are

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Flotsam 11: mostly on books

April 16, 2013
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Flotsam 11: mostly on books

‘No estaba muerto, andaba the parranda’† as the song says. Although rather than partying it mostly has been reading, taking pictures and trying to learn how to record sounds. Here there are some things I’ve come across lately. I can’t remember if I’ve recommended Matloff’s The Art of R Programming before; if I haven’t, go

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Remembering server installation details

January 8, 2013
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Remembering server installation details

I’ve been moving part of my work to university servers, where I’m just one more peasant user with little privileges. In exchange, I can access the jobs from anywhere and I can access multiple processors if needed. Given that I have a sieve-like memory, where configuration details quickly disappear through many small holes, I’m documenting

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An R wish list for 2013

December 29, 2012
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An R wish list for 2013

First go and read An R wish list for 2012. None of the wishes came through in 2012. Fix the R website? No, it is the same this year. In fact, it is the same as in 2005. Easy to find help? Sorry, next year. Consistency and sane defaults? Coming soon to a theater near

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My R year

December 23, 2012
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My R year

End-of-year posts are corny but, what the heck, I think I can let myself delve in to corniness once a year. The following code gives a snapshot of what and how was R for me in 2012. outside.packages.2012 <- list(used.the.most = c('asreml', 'ggplot2'), largest.use.decline = c('MASS', 'lattice'), same.use = c('MCMCglmm', 'lme4'), would.like.use.more = 'JAGS')  

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R for inquisition

December 21, 2012
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R for inquisition

A post on high-dimensional arrays by @isomorphisms reminded me of APL and, more generally, of matrix languages, which took me back to inquisitive computing: computing not in the sense of software engineering, or databases, or formats, but of learning by poking problems through a computer. I like languages not because I can get a job

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Matrix Algebra Useful for Statistics

December 16, 2012
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Matrix Algebra Useful for Statistics

I was having a conversation with an acquaintance about courses that were particularly useful in our work. My forestry degree involved completing 50 compulsory + 10 elective† courses; if I had to choose courses that were influential and/or really useful they would be Operations Research, Economic Evaluation of Projects, Ecology, 3 Calculus and 2 Algebras.

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When R, or any other language, is not enough

December 14, 2012
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When R, or any other language, is not enough

This post is tangential to R, although R has a fair share of the issues I mention here, which include research reproducibility, open source, paying for software, multiple languages, salt and pepper. There is an increasing interest in the reproducibility … Continue reading →

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R pitfalls #4: redefining the basics

December 13, 2012
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R pitfalls #4: redefining the basics

I try to be economical when writing code; for example, I tend to use single quotes over double quotes for characters because it saves me one keystroke. One area where I don’t do that is when typing TRUE and FALSE … Continue reading →

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