Blog Archives

Forecasting gentrification in city neighborhoods, with R

February 28, 2017
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Forecasting gentrification in city neighborhoods, with R

If you've lived in a big city, you're likely familiar with the impact of gentrification. For longtime residents of a neighbourhood, it can represent a decline in the culture and vibrancy of your community; for recent or prospective residents, it can represent a financial opportunity in rising home prices. For those that live in a gentrifying neighbourhood, it's one...

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ggraph: ggplot for graphs

February 27, 2017
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ggraph: ggplot for graphs

A graph, a collection of nodes connected by edges, is just data. Whether it's a social network (where nodes are people, and edges are friend relationships), or a decision tree (where nodes are branch criteria or values, and edges decisions), the nature of the graph is easily represented in a data object. It might be represented as a matrix...

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Prophet: How Facebook operationalizes time series forecasting at scale

February 24, 2017
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Prophet: How Facebook operationalizes time series forecasting at scale

Facebook is a famously data-driven organization, and an important goal in any data science activity is forecasting. Now, Facebook has released Prophet, an open-source package for R and Python that implements the time-series methodology that Facebook uses in production for forecasting at scale. Prophet has a very simple interface: you pass it a column of dates and a column...

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Preview: R Tools for Visual Studio 1.0

February 23, 2017
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Preview: R Tools for Visual Studio 1.0

After more than a year in preview R Tools for Visual Studio, the open-source extension to the Visual Studio IDE for R programming, is nearing its official release. RTVS Release Candidate 1 is now available for download, giving you the opportunity to try out the new features ahead of the official announcement. We'll cover the features in detail with...

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The difference between R and Excel

February 22, 2017
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The difference between R and Excel

If you're an Excel user (or any other spreadsheet, really), adapting to learn R can be hard. As this blog post by Gordon Shotwell explains, one of the reasons is that simple things can be harder to do in R than Excel. But it's worth perservering, because complex things can be easier. While Excel (ahem) excels at things like...

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Finding Radiohead’s most depressing song, with R

February 22, 2017
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Finding Radiohead’s most depressing song, with R

Radiohead is known for having some fairly maudlin songs, but of all of their tracks, which is the most depressing? Data scientist and R enthusiast Charlie Thompson ranked all of their tracks according to a "gloom index", and created the following chart of gloominess for each of the band's nine studio albums. (Click for the interactive version, crated with...

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Catterplots: Plots with cats

February 17, 2017
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Catterplots: Plots with cats

As a devotee of Tufte, I'm generally against chartjunk. Graphical elements that obscure interpretation of the data occasionally have a useful role to play, but more often than not that role is to entertain the expense of enlightenment, or worse, to actively mislead. So it's with mixed feelings that I refer you to catterplots, an R package by David...

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Six Articles on using R with SQL Server

February 16, 2017
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Tomaž Kaštrun is developer and data analyst working for the IT group at SPAR (the ubiquitous European chain of convenience stores) in Austria. He blogs regularly about using Microsoft R and SQL Server for data analyis, and recently published a roundup of his articles about R and SQL Server. Follow the link below for the an overview of the...

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Performance improvements coming to R 3.4.0

February 15, 2017
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R 3.3.3 (codename: "Another Canoe") is scheduled for release on March 6. This is the "wrap-up" release of the R 3.3 series, which means it will include minor bug fixes and improvements, but eschew major new features. Major changes are coming though, with the subsequent release of R 3.4.0. While the NEWS file announcing updates in 3.4.0 is still...

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Galaxy classification with deep learning and SQL Server R Services

February 14, 2017
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Galaxy classification with deep learning and SQL Server R Services

One of the major "wow!" moments in the keynote where SQL Server 2016 was first introduced was a demo that automated the process classifying images of galaxies in a huge database of astronomical images. The SQL Server Blog has since published a step-by-step tutorial on implementing the galaxy classifier in SQL Server (and the code is also available on...

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