# …about R, for beginners

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These days I was remembering my beginnings as a linux user few years ago, and how I found R (possibly in a very unlikely way: searching for a SPSS alternative in Linux). For two years, R had been almost impossible for me. I didn’t understand its syntax (I don’t have programming background), and luckily I had installed R Commander (Rcmdr) to perform simple analysis and plots…

Another feature of Rcmdr (that I didn’t use) was that every click to a button remains in a part of Rcmdr’s console, and then it can be copied, used and modified. Indeed, the ‘*copypaste*‘ thing has revealed to me as the best way to acquire, recyle, modify and run commands.

Have you installed R? You can try this (nice) code:

# First we store an object called ‘object’ in R’s memory (just like a big calculator)

object <- seq(1,100, by=5)

# ‘Object’ stores the sequence (seq) from 1 to 100, by 5. That is: 1, 6, 11, 16, 21 26, 31… If you type ?seq in the console, you will have a brief help.

# With R, you can calculate big numbers, logarythms and fractions storing its components, with less chance of errors than with an ordinary calculator.

# You can create new variables from old ones:

logobject <- log10(object)

# ‘Logobject’ stores the decimal logarythm of every value inside ‘object’. That is:

logobject

# You can also plot the variables with simple functions like plot:

plot(object) plot(object, logobject) plot(object, logobject, col = "red", xlab="My X axis", ylab= "This is my Y axis", main="My first plot")

# As you can see, is not very difficult to change the color “argument”, from “red” to “green” or “blue” for instance. The title, instance of “My first R plot” can be changed to “My coloured R plot”, or the labels of the axes. Don’t forget to store these commands and new ones, in a plain Text document, Wordpad etc.. so you can recycle them and fix syntax errors!

# If you feel confident, you can try this. The spoiler is here, by DWin

dat <- data.frame(t=seq(0, 2*pi, by=0.1) ) xhrt <- function(t) 16*sin(t)^3 yhrt <- function(t) 13*cos(t)-5*cos(2*t)-2*cos(3*t)-cos(4*t) dat$y = yhrt(dat$t) dat$x = xhrt(dat$t) with(dat, plot(x,y, type="l")) with(dat, polygon(x,y, col="hotpink"))

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