Articles by David Smith

Accidental aRt

July 30, 2014 | David Smith

R is a very powerful language for creating custom data visualizations, but during the development process sometimes you make a mistake and things go horribly wrong. But sometime serendipity intervenes, and the (unintended) result can be quite beautiful. Accidental aRt, if you will. Curated by Kara Woo and Erika Mudrak, ... [Read more...]

Learning from alternative R engines at DSC 2014

July 25, 2014 | David Smith

I was honoured to be invited earlier this month to the Directions of Statistical Computing meeting in Brixen, Italy. DSC is one of two meetings run by the R Project and unlike the useR! conference, DSC is a much smaller and intimate meeting (DSC 2014 had about 30 participants). If you haven't ... [Read more...]

magrittr: Simplifying R code with pipes

July 23, 2014 | David Smith

R is a functional language, which means that your code often contains a lot of ( parentheses ). And complex code often means nesting those parentheses together, which make code hard to read and understand. But there's a very handy R package — magrittr, by Stefan Milton Bache — which lets you transform nested ... [Read more...]

There’s no mistake in the barley data

July 21, 2014 | David Smith

Statistics has many canonical data sets. For classification statistics, we have the Fisher's iris data. For Big Data statistics, the canonical data set used in many examples is the Airlines data. And for dotplots, we have the barley data, first popularized by Bill Cleveland in the landmark 1993 text Visualizing Data. ... [Read more...]

July 22: Applications in R Webinar

July 18, 2014 | David Smith

Just a quick heads-up that I'll be presenting with Neera Talbert (VP Professional Services, Revolution Analytics) in a free webinar on Tuesday, July 22 on Applications in R: Success and Lessons Learned from the Marketplace. I'll describe several R applications from well-known companies (some of which can be seen in the ... [Read more...]

Guide to Machine Learning with R from InsideBigData

July 14, 2014 | David Smith

InsideBigData has published a new Guide to Machine Learning, in collaboration with Revolution Analytics. As the name suggests, the Guide provides an overview of machine learning techniques, with a focus on implementation with the R language and (for big-data applications) Revolution R Enterprise. You can download the Guide here (email ... [Read more...]

IEEE ranks R #9 amongst all languages

July 11, 2014 | David Smith

IEEE — the world's largest professional association for the language of technology — recently published its ranking of the popularity of programming languages. The R language comes in at number 9 in the list. The ranking is based on 12 weighted factors, including Google search rankings and trends, social media chatter, aggregator posts (Reddit ... [Read more...]

R 3.1.1 is released

July 10, 2014 | David Smith

As announced by Peter Dalgaard for the R Core Team today, R 3.1.1 has been released. Codenamed "Sock it to Me", this is a patch release for R 3.1, and mostly includes minor bug fixes. It also includes some small improvements, including easier access to package help files, improved accuracy when importing ... [Read more...]

In case you missed it: June 2014 Roundup

July 9, 2014 | David Smith

In case you missed them, here are some articles from June of particular interest to R users: The useR! 2014 conference in Los Angeles opened with 16 tutorials. DataInformed published an article by David Smith on how various companies use R. Joe Rickert reviews the new book "Applied Predictive Modeling" by Max ... [Read more...]

Reflections on useR! 2014

July 7, 2014 | David Smith

UseR! 2014, the R user conference held last week in LA, was the most successful yet. Around 700 R users from around the world converged on the UCLA campus to share their experiences with the R language and to socialize with other data scientists, statisticians and others using R. The week began ... [Read more...]

Revolution Analytics: the R company since 2007

July 2, 2014 | David Smith

Revolution Analytics, founded in 2007, was the first company devoted to the R project. Since then, we've been behind several R initiatives, including the RHadoop project and the network of R user groups around the world. I gave this short presentation today at the useR! 2014 conference in Los Angeles with some ... [Read more...]

useR! 2014 is underway with 16 tutorials

June 30, 2014 | David Smith

The annual worldwide user conference useR! 2014 is underway at UCLA, beginning with a full day of tutorials. This year's useR! conference is a record-breaker with more than 700 attendees, so most of the tutorial sessions have been jam-packed. The tutorials cover a diverse array of R applications: data management, visualization, statistics ... [Read more...]

How data-driven companies use R to compete

June 27, 2014 | David Smith

The editors at DataInformed invited me to write an article about how R is used in business, and I was pleased to oblige. The article, How Companies use R to Compete in a Data-Driven World, is now live and describes how Facebook, The New York Times, X+1, ANZ Bank and ... [Read more...]

Interactive, web-ready ggplot2-style graphics with ggvis

June 25, 2014 | David Smith

Hadley Wickham's been working on the next-generation update to ggplot2 for a while, and now it's available on CRAN. The ggvis package is completely new, and combines a chaining syntax reminiscent of dplyr with the grammar of graphics concepts of ggplot2. The resulting charts are web-ready in scalable SVG format, ... [Read more...]

Bank of America uses R for reporting

June 23, 2014 | David Smith

A recent FastCoLabs article, "The 9 Best Languages For Crunching Data", starts its list with the R language: It would be downright negligent to start this list with any language other than R. It has been kicking around since 1997 as a free alternative to pricey statistical software, such as Matlab or ... [Read more...]

An infographic comparing R, SAS and SPSS

June 20, 2014 | David Smith

The R online training site DataCamp has created an infographic comparing R, SAS and SPSS. Provocatively titled "Statistical Language Wars", the infographic compares the history, purpose, ease of learning, popularity and marketability of skills in each of the three systems. Here's a small detail (click for the full chart): The ... [Read more...]

Where World Cup players actually come from

June 18, 2014 | David Smith

To play in a World Cup national soccer team, a player must be a citizen of that country. But most World Cup players don't regularly play in the nation of their World Cup team. Some hold dual citizenship; others simply play for a league team in a foreign country where ... [Read more...]

R popularity update

June 16, 2014 | David Smith

Earlier this month, the results of the 15th annual KDnuggets Software Poll were released and R's popularity continues to grow. 38.5% of respondents reporting using open source R in the last 12 months, up from 37.4% in 2013. R was second only to RapidMiner in popularity, which was used by 44.2% of respondents to this ... [Read more...]

Hollywood loves orange and blue

June 13, 2014 | David Smith

Ever since the days of digital film processing, cinematographers have had free rein to recolor their shots in any way they like, without the hassle of chemical developing systems from the old film days. The Coen Brothers' Oh Brother Where Art Thou was the first Hollywood film to use this ... [Read more...]
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