**Portfolio Probe » R language**, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The biggest and perhaps best meeting yet.

## The talks

James Long: “Easy Parallel Stochastic Simulations using Amazon’s EC2 & Segue”. This was a lively talk about James’ package to use Amazon’s cloud to speed up a (huge) call to `lapply`. The good part is that if you want to use Amazon as your cloud provider, it is very easy. The downside is that the package is intimately tied to Amazon — so if you want a more general solution, you should probably go elsewhere.

Richard Saldanha: “Practical Optimization”. In this Richard is essentially generating random portfolios in order to understand the capacity (amount of money possible) of a strategy.

Chibisi Chima-Okereke: “Actuarial Pricing Using General Linear Models In R”. Chibisi talked about how R has not yet had much penetration into the actuarial field, and showed some things that they are missing because they don’t have R.

## The good part

The crowd was significantly bigger than at past events, and seemed to be much more diverse as well. I met several quite interesting people, and I’m sure there were many quite interesting people that I didn’t get to meet.

Why would it be a bigger crowd? There are at least three hypotheses:

- Food was served.
- An out-of-towner in the form of James Long presented.
- R is growing like a weed.

I’m not at all convinced of hypothesis 1. The additional attraction of free protein beyond the attraction of free ethanol would seem to me to be marginal. Plus I wasn’t even consciously aware that there would be food (but it **was** good — thanks Mango).

I would guess that James did attract some people — and rightly so.

Most of the weight of my prior is on hypothesis 3. There have been a few books published recently and other events that may well be raising awareness of R:

*The Art of R Programming*by Norman Matloff was published 2011 September*R in Action*by Robert Kabacoff was published 2011 August*Parallel R*by Ethan McCallum and Stephen Weston was published 2011 October (I certainly wouldn’t have predicted this one)- Last week a new website was born: http://rconvert.com/ (I’m not saying this had an effect on the meeting, but it’s a sign of the times)

Other evidence in support of hypothesis 3 is that views of “Some hints for the R beginner” have been growing, and downloads of *The R Inferno* remain strong.

The next data point regarding the growth of LondonR is scheduled for 2012 March 6. A call went out for suggestions for a larger suitable venue in the City — talk to Mango Solutions if you have an idea.

Another view of the same meeting is on **Mages’ blog**

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