useR! 2011 roundup

August 19, 2011
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

As I stand[*] here at Heathrow waiting for my flight back to the States, I thought I'd dash off a few quick reflections of the userR! 2011 conference at University Warwick. It was an outstanding event. There's something about a conference of just a few hundred attendees (there were about 450) that creates a sense of camaraderie and common purpose you just don't get at larger conferences. It was wonderful to re-connect with colleagues, meet long-standing collaborators previously only known via email, and meet many new friends. The event was tremendously well-run, and as a community-run conference proceeded much more smoothly than many professionally-managed conferences I've been to. A big thank-you to the useR 2011 organizing committee (John Aston, Julia Brettschneider, David Firth, Ashley Ford, Ioannis Kosmidis, Tom Nichols, Elke Thönnes and Heather Turner) for such a fantastic conference, and we at Revolution Analytics were proud to have been a sponsor. (Photo courtesy useR! 2011.)

User 2011 conference

There was some great information shared in the tutorials and invited and contributed sessions, too. Here are a few quick nuggets compiled from my notes:

From Max Kuhn's tutorial:

  • The caret package is a powerful yet easy-to-use front end to more than 122 different kinds of predictive models in R. It provides a consident user interface to all models, and makes it easy to tune and compare models to select the one with the best predictive power for your data.
  • The partykit package provides some beautiful visualizations of tree models.

From Ulrike Gromping's talk

From Jonty Rougier's talk

From Pairach Piboonrungroj's talk:

  • Structural Equation Modeling is just a combination of factor modelling and regression
  • R packages for SEM include semOpenMx and lavaan

From Fabrizio Ortolani's talk:

  • The forecast function is a simple yet powerful time series forecasting tool, and out-performs similar functionality in SAS and SAP.

From Patrick Burns' talk:

  • Modern portfolio optimization is computationally intensive, and is basically a knapsack problem with many constraints
  • The packages testthat and RUnit, and the functions do.call and tryCatch, are useful for testing R code
  • Generating random inputs to functions is a good way of testing, especially of error-detecting code which often goes untested.

From Ian Cook's talk:

  • R has been validated R for use in the pharmaceutical industry many times
  • FDA officers have spoken about the use of R for clinical research: Sue Bell in 2006 (although this link now seems to be broken -- anyone have a copy?) and Matt Soukup in 2007.

From Alexander Kowarik's talk:

  • The sparkTable package combines official statistics tables with sparklines
  • A cool application of sparklines is win-loss records for football teams

From Olaf Mersmann's talk:

From Paul Murrell's keynote:

  • You can use R to read a PDF file, and extract the vector representation of the images and the text for analysis.
  • The R graphics engine now has support for complex shapes (e.g. polygons with holes), which can be drawn with the grid.path and polypath functions
  • The gridSVG package will soon make it possible to create interative SVG graphics (e.g. high-quality clickable maps) with R.

From Simon Urbanek's keynote:

  • The forthcoming ix package will soon allow for interactive, cross-linked exploratory graphics in R that supports millions of points with high performance.

Anyway, I have to board my plane now. You can see more commentary from useR 2011 at the #user2011 hashtag on Twitter.

[*] Literally, stand. The only power outlets are conveniently placed out of cable reach of chairs. Thanks, BAA!

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on his blog: Revolutions.

R-bloggers.com offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more...



If you got this far, why not subscribe for updates from the site? Choose your flavor: e-mail, twitter, RSS, or facebook...

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.