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David Smith's picture
December 6, 2012

By Revolution Analytics training manager James Peruvankal

If you are new to R, and want to get an introduction to the R language, in the classic “learning by doing way”, Code school and O’Reilly have put together the Try R interactive tutorial

The shiny package, the R package from RStudio that makes it easy to build simple interactive interfaces for R scripts, is now available on CRAN. This will make it easier for R programmers to install and use shiny, and to run the interfaces they create from a local web browser.

Last month's release of Revolution R Enterprise 6.1 added the capability to fit decision and regresson trees on large data sets (using a new parallel external memory algorithm included in the RevoScaleR package). It also introduced the possibility of applying this and the other big-data statistical methods of RevoScaleR to data files distributed in in Hadoop's HDFS file system*, using the Hadoop nodes themselves as the compute engine (with Revolution R Enterprise installed).

New York Times columnist Charles Blow needed a chart to accompany his op-ed piece Lincoln, Liberty and Two Americas (about one-party control in state legislatures).

Computer Science PhD student Tim Weninger wrote a 10-page paper for the World Wide Web conference looking at how Reddit users interact on the discussion pages of the social news site. During the process, he saved 463 revisions of the paper in a source-code control system. Then, he wrote a computer program to animate each revision of the paper. The result: a film showing how a typical research paper evolves from an outline to a complete thesis:


Can R be used for real-time applications? Absolutely! The key is in setting up an technology stack that can support real-time interactions with models developed in R ... and a clear understanding of what "real-time" really means, and its implications in the context of Big Data.

Yihui Xie is the creator of several popular R packages, including knitr, animation and cranvas. In an interview with The Setup, he shares some of the software and hardware he uses in his data-to-day work, including (of course) R:

Hadley Wickham has written a comprehensive tutorial for the Rcpp package, which makes it easy to create C++ code embedded in R programs. Hadley explains why you might want to do this in the introduction:

Ajay Ohri, author of R for Business Analytics, was recently interviewed about using R instead of Excel for human resources management. Human Resources is an increasingly analytics-driven field, with predictive modeling now used to prioritize applicants for interview and to organize workspaces, to give just two examples. As Ajay points out, R gets over the limitations of spreadsheets:

In 1998, John Chambers won the ACM Software Systems award for the S language, which the ACM heralded as having "forever altered how people analyze, visualize, and manipulate data". The R language is "not unlike S", and John continues pushing the frontiers of statistical computing as a member of the R Core Group.