how to speak ggplot2 like a native, and Predictive Analytics World

October 24, 2010
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I was recently given the opportunity to re-present my ggplot2 talk, which I originally gave to the NYC R Meetup, to the DC R Meetup group. The Meetup was held co-located with the Predictive Analytics World conference in Alexandria, VA. (More on my thoughts on PAW below…) Contentwise, I made only small changes, changing a bit of patter and adding more examples at the end. I still love ggplot, with some frustration at the way it is typically introduced. Some of the audience had no R experience at all, while others were experts. One person, a grad student at U. of Maryland, had had very similar difficulty as I had when originally learning ggplot2, and his enthusiastic nods during my presentation were very validating! For reference, the Meetup page is here, and I stuck the current version of the slides in a public Dropbox, located here.

And a few thoughts about PAW. The conference was well-run (although I have my gripes with the hotel and its location!) and there were an interesting and eclectic lineup of speakers, from a variety of industries. Compared to academic conferences I’ve attended, I missed having all the grad students around. At PAW, I felt rather young, which had not been true at academic conferences in quite a long time! The content of the conference focused on people using predictive methods (statistics, data mining, machine learning) at the individual-customer level, for marketing or retainment or other purposes. That’s not my primary interest right now — my work is focused at a slightly higher operations-research-y level, trying to make sure that customers in the aggregate have good options. But I enjoyed learning about what other people are doing using somewhat similar methods. Next year, though, I think I’ll try to go to a different conference, perhaps UseR! in the UK, or INFORMS’ applied conference

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