I was fortunate enough to attend the 2013 UseR! conference in Albacete, Spain this year. I had a great time meeting fellow R users and exchanging ideas on R implementations. The conference is also one of the few opportunities to gain exposure to uses of R in other disciplines because there are so many talks and few will be directly related to your day-to-day work. These are just three out of hundreds :
Heart Rate Variability analysis in R with RHRV
Patterns of Multimorbidity: Graphical Models and Statistical Learning
Facilitating genetic map construction at large scales inR
I appreciated that the conference’s location attracted a lot of European attendees. This meant that during the breaks I was engaged in a diverse range of conversations from asset valuation arbitrage with Norwegian actuaries, to socioeconomic health effects with Swedish researchers.
It was also incredible to meet the people who developed the libraries I use everyday, As well as learning about new libraries in the pipeline. I’ve been managing a fun work project centered around Joe Cheng’s (RStudio) Shiny package so it was great meeting his team in person and being able to run a few questions past him. After seeing tons of Hadley Wickham’s talks and slides online it was fun seeing a presentation in person.
The conference was interesting in that it wasn’t too close to an outright stats conference or a developers conference, but in the future I’d like to see more talks/presentations around practical applications of R. This isn’t to say these proposed talks should all include business use-cases, rather more beginning-to-end explanations of a defined problem and the various iterations of R on the way to a solution.
I’m very excited for The R User Conference 2014 at UCLA next year! Not only because my commute will go from 18 hr to 1.5 hr, but UCLA has made some great contributions to R and the proposed lineup looks exceptional.