LondonR – March edition round up

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My first LondonR took me back to my days at University as UCL hosted us for the evening.

Our first speaker of the night was Mike Smith from Pfizer. Mike had joined us to give a version of his talk that he delivered at this years rstudio::conf – ‘lazy and easily distracted report writing in R’. While there was a strong focus on his (wonderful) tidyverse themed t-shirt and his messy kitchen drawer, Mike had some home truths for us – we all get distracted very easily! This is why it’s so important to produce rmarkdown reports that help you to remember exactly what you were doing, not only for future you, or different people – but for presently distracted you!

He also emphasised how vital knowing your audience is, then showed us how easy it is to adapt an rmarkdown report for various audiences by parametrising your rmarkdown reports. I won’t go in to any detail here but definitely something worth looking in to if your work (or play) involves producing rmarkdown docs for multiple audiences.

After Mike’s talk, Laurens Geffert from Nielsen Marketing Cloud showed us how to build a supercomputer using the cloudyr project and AWS. Laurens definitely got the message across that R can be made into a very powerful tool very easily. Something we can all relate to is how Laurens code has progressed over the years; from base R, to purrr, then on to furrr! Dropping package names like it was going out of fashion Laurens introduced us to a suite of packages for parallel computing on AWS; aws.ec2, future, remoter and the aforementioned furrr the stars of the show. He ended his talk with a call to action, the cloudyr project are looking for people to help with maintenance of their AWS packages (if this sounds like something that interests you then check out ).

Our last speaker was Mango’s very own Hannah Frick – providing the low down on all the news from this year’s rstudio::conf. This year’s conference was held in Austin and featured titans from the R community such as Joe Cheng and Hadley Wickham. Hannah didn’t have time to tell us about all the brilliant talks in a half an hour presentation – so I certainly won’t try and do it here. What I can offer is a link to all of the materials from the conference here, and all of the sessions were recorded and are freely available here for your viewing pleasure.

The night ended with a shameless plug for our annual EARL London conference in September (abstract submissions close on the 31st of March!). If you’re looking for a reason to attend, or more likely convince your boss that you should attend, then look no further than this blog post.

All the information from this event and past LondonR’s can be found at We hope to see you all again at the next one on the 15th of May – again at UCL. We’re always looking for speakers so please get in touch if you’ve got anything to talk about!

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