Articles by Patrick Burns

On the acceptance of R

March 20, 2013 | Patrick Burns

Some history and a prediction. Past A discussion broke out on the R-help mailing list in January 2006 about a technical report put out by the statistical computing group at UCLA.  The report in question talked mainly about SAS, SPSS and Stata.  It talked briefly — and not especially positively — about R.  ... [Read more...]

The options mechanism in R

March 2, 2013 | Patrick Burns

Customization in R. Basics Several features benefit from being customizable — either because of personal taste or specifics of the environment. The way R implements this flexibility is through the options function.  This both sets and reports options.  For example, we can see the names of the options that are set ... [Read more...]

Plot ranges of data in R

February 21, 2013 | Patrick Burns

How to control the limits of data values in R plots. R has multiple graphics engines.  Here we will talk about the base graphics and the ggplot2 package. We’ll create a bit of data to use in the examples: one2ten [Read more...]

R database interfaces

February 14, 2013 | Patrick Burns

Several packages on CRAN provide (or relate to) interfaces between databases and R.  Here is a summary, mostly in the words of the package descriptions.  Remember that package names are case-sensitive. The packages that talk about being DBI-compliant are referring to the DBI package (see below in “Other SQL”). MySQL ... [Read more...]

The three-dots construct in R

January 30, 2013 | Patrick Burns

There is a mechanism that allows variability in the arguments given to R functions.  Technically it is ellipsis, but more commonly called “…”, dots, dot-dot-dot or three-dots. Basics The three-dots allows: an arbitrary number and variety of arguments passing arguments on to other functions Arbitrary arguments The two prime cases are ... [Read more...]

A corner on convenient data analysis

January 24, 2013 | Patrick Burns

Many people are of the opinion that R has a corner on convenient data analysis.  That may or may not be true. But now R literally has a corner that makes data analysis more convenient.  If you have a data frame or a matrix with a few columns, then you ... [Read more...]
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