Articles by David Smith

XKCD "Curve Fitting", in R

September 28, 2018 | David Smith

You probably saw this XKCD last week, which brought a grimace of recognition to statisticians everywhere: It's so realistic, that Barry Rowlingson was able to reproduce all but two of the "charts" above with a simple R function (and a little help from the xkcd ggplot2 theme): And now for @... [Read more...]

3-D shadow maps in R: the rayshader package

September 26, 2018 | David Smith

Data scientists often work with geographic data that needs to be visualized on a map, and sometimes the maps themselves are the data. The data is often located in two-dimensional space (latitude and longitude), but for some applications we have a third dimension as well: elevation. We could represent the ... [Read more...]

R developer’s guide to Azure

September 25, 2018 | David Smith

If you want to run R in the cloud, you can of course run it in a virtual machine in the cloud provider of your choice. And you can do that in Azure too. But Azure provides seven dedicated services that provide the ability to run R code, and you ... [Read more...]

Applications of R presented at EARL London 2018

September 21, 2018 | David Smith

During the EARL (Enterprise Applications of the R Language) conference in London last week, the organizers asked me how I thought the conference had changed over the years. (This is the conference's fifth year, and I'd been to each one.) My response was that it reflected the increasing maturity of ... [Read more...]

If not Notebooks, then what? Look to Literate Programming

September 12, 2018 | David Smith

Author and research engineer Joel Grus kicked off an important conversation about Jupyter Notebooks in his recent presentation at JupyterCon: There's no video yet available of Joel's talk, but you can guess the theme of that opening slide, and walking through the slides conveys the message well, I think. Yuhui ... [Read more...]

Video: R and Python in in Azure HDInsight

September 11, 2018 | David Smith

Azure HDInisght was recently updated with version 9.3 of ML Services in HDInsight, which provides integration with R and Python. In particular, it makes it possible to run R and Python within HDInsight's managed Spark instance. The integration provides: R and Python support, with interaction via Visual Studio, VS Code, or ... [Read more...]

In case you missed it: August 2018 roundup

September 6, 2018 | David Smith

In case you missed them, here are some articles from August of particular interest to R users. A guide to installing R and RStudio with packages and multithreaded BLAS on various platforms. Some tips for Excel users migrating to R for data analysis. Videos of presentations from the New York ... [Read more...]

Guide to a high-performance, powerful R installation

August 31, 2018 | David Smith

R is an amazing language with 25 years of development behind it, but you can make the most from R with additional components. An IDE makes developing in R more convenient; packages extend R's capabilities; and multi-threaded libraries make computations faster. Since these additional components aren't included on the official R ... [Read more...]

Tips for analyzing Excel data in R

August 30, 2018 | David Smith

If you're familiar with analyzing data in Excel and want to learn how to work with the same data in R, Alyssa Columbus has put together a very useful guide: How To Use R With Excel. In addition to providing you with a guide for installing and setting up R ... [Read more...]

Videos from NYC R Conference

August 28, 2018 | David Smith

The videos from the NYC R conference have been published, and there are so many great talks there to explore. I highly recommend checking them out: you'll find a wealth of interesting R applications, informative deep dives on using R (and a few other applications as well), and some very ... [Read more...]

The Chartmaker Directory: Data visualizations in every tool

August 24, 2018 | David Smith

Working with a new data visualization tool, and wondering how to create a specific type of chart? The Chartmaker Directory (designed by Andy Kirk) indexes more than 35 tools and over 50 charts, and provides links to examples from each combination. Here's an intentionally small detail from the index, where each hollow ... [Read more...]

Using gganimate to illustrate the luminance illusion

August 22, 2018 | David Smith

Many illusions are based on the fact that our perceptions of color or brightness of an object are highly dependent on the background surrounding the object. For example, in this image (an example of the Cornsweet illusion) the upper and lower blocks are exactly the same color, according to the ... [Read more...]

Make R speak

August 16, 2018 | David Smith

Every wanted to make R talk to you? Now you can, with the mscstts package by John Muschelli. It provides an interface to the Microsoft Cognitive Services Text-to-Speech API (hence the name) in Azure, and you can use it to convert any short piece of text to a playable audio ... [Read more...]

Microsoft R Open 3.5.1 now available

August 14, 2018 | David Smith

Microsoft R Open 3.5.1 has been released, combining the latest R language engine with multi-processor performance and tools for managing R packages reproducibly. You can download Microsoft R Open 3.5.1 for Windows, Mac and Linux from MRAN now. Microsoft R Open is 100% compatible with all R scripts and packages, and works with ... [Read more...]

Redmonk Language Rankings, June 2018

August 10, 2018 | David Smith

The latest Redmonk Language Rankings are out. These rankings are published twice a year, and the top three positions in the June 2018 rankings remain unchanged from last time: JavaScript at #1, Java at #2, and Python at #3. The Redmonk rankings are based on Github repositories (as a proxy for developer activity) and ... [Read more...]
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