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R Consortium

R-Hub – Public Beta

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R Hub – Public Beta
Oct 25, 2016 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PDT

R-HUB, the most significant project that the R Consortium has funded to date, is making progress. The major goal of R-Hub is to develop a modern platform for simplifying and improving the R package development process. It will provide facilities to assist package creation, building binaries, and for publishing, distributing and maintaining packages.

Gábor Csárdi, R-Hub’s lead developer, will describe the latest development in R-Hub RC 1.0 and provide an overview of the first public beta.

Thank you for your interest in attending the R Hub Webinar. The Event has concluded. You can catch up by watching the video below.

Register and View Recording

The start of satRdays

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by Gergely Daroczi, organizer

Almost 200 people from 19 countries registered for the first satRday conference which was held last Saturday, September 3rd, in Budapest. The final count showed that nearly 170 R users spent 12 hours at the conference venue attending workshops, regular and lighting talks, social events and a data visualization challenge. If you missed the event, you can rewatch the live stream of the conference talks at any time. An abridged version of the video recordings will also be uploaded to the conference homepage along with the slides and related materials in the next couple of days.

There was a pretty intense interest for the conference from the beginning: the registration opened at the end of June, just before the useR! conference, and 90% of the originally planned 150 tickets were gone in a month, when the early-bird period ended. To my great but pleasant surprise, it didn’t become a local Hungarian conference at all: on an average, every third registration came from another country. The 50/50 ratio of academic to industry tickets was similarly stable from the beginning.

We sold around 130 tickets without sharing any details on the line-up of invited and contributed talks, although previously announcing our two keynote speakers (Gabor Csardi and Jeroen Ooms) kind of guaranteed a high quality for the conference. Fortunately, we received a good number of talk proposals and decided to have 25 speakers after all:

speakers.jpg

It took a while to finalize the conference program and to figure out how we would fund an inexpensive event for so many attendees (as the number of registered attendees continued to increase by one or two every day), but things sorted out by the end of August and we received a good amount of financial help (covering 75% of the overall conference expenses) from our sponsors. Thank you!

sponsors.png

And the very early morning of September 3 arrived! I left home at 6am to arrive to the conference venue in time, and it was extremely exciting to see the first attendees arrive:

The registration took a bit longer than I hoped, but after around 10 minutes of delay, all 6 workshops were ready to start. I’m extremely proud of the great line-up of workshop speakers, who provided free training to all attendees on the validation package, H2O, data.table, ggplot2 and shiny.

The conference started with the above noted short delay, but we managed to get back on track in the later sessions — by forcing myself to act as an extremely strict conference chair pushing most of the questions to the coffee breaks. Thanks to all for your highly appreciated cooperation with this!

Gabor Csardi soon proved that it was a very good idea to have him as our morning keynote speaker — he kicked off the conference with an exciting talk on fun stories from the past years of R and also introduced some of his wonderful and extremely useful projects to us. Please keep up the good work!

The R Infrastructure session started right after Gabor’s keynote talk with four presentations on networking, using R and Python, R in MSSQL and other tools along with R for applications such as fighting fraud. Photos of these and other talks will be soon uploaded to the conference homepage, until then, you might want checking the #satRdays Twitter hashtag, where I posted a number of pics. For a quick insight, this is how the conference hall looked like:

The first session ended after noon, so we headed for a quick lunch:

And we soon started the next technical session on different R packages: Arun on data.table, Mark on the validate package and Romain on dplyr — all did a fantastic job not only while working on the packages, but with their talks as well. And yet, one of the most exciting moments of the conference happened between the talks, when one of our speakers decided to ask one of the attendees a very important and personal question: Congratulations to Cecile and Romain!

And we had our first lightning talk (exactly 15 slides each shown for 20 seconds) where Bo did a wonderful job and presented a lot of valuable information and summary in such short period of time. The session ended with our second keynote talk, where Jeroen shared some of his past R projects, showed some really impressive curl examples, and gave an inspiring intro to his new cool magick package for easy and advanced image manipulations on the top of ImageMagick:

The afternoon sessions, both regular and lightning talks, covered a wide range of machine learning tools and use-cases. In addition to the H2O machine learning tools, we learned about how R and ML is used at CERN, multivariate data analysis of time-series, political parties and Thomas Levine’s crazy tools for rendering data as music and virtual kebabs. (Variables were mapped to different spices.)  It was a good mix!

Oh, and I don’t want to forget about the talks on choosing the right tools for different use cases like: catching all Pokemons, visualizing geochemical models, on how to get your boss and colleagues to love R, and an inspiring proposal on the RUG Toolbox to enable networking among local R users; and the chance to learn about how to build JS-heavy, complex Shiny dashboards at Friss for example.

The conference ended with the Data Visualization Challenge, where 8 projects were shown in 3-3 minutes and the audience voted for the best visualizationwhile having a slice of pizza and some beers. It was great to see the very well prepared and creative dashboards and plots:

The formal event ended around 8:30 pm, more than 12 hours after the start of the morning workshops, with nearly 80 attendees walking 15 mins to a nearby pub for some additional informal conversations. For myself, this was the most rewarding moment of the event — to see that all the pretty hard work that Denes and I did during the past months (more on this in a follow-up post) paid off after all: people spent the whole satRday together in a fruitful environment, where new friendships and R package ideas were born.

Hope to see many similar events in the future!

The R Consortium Funds Three Projects in July

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by Joseph Rickert and Hadley Wickham

The Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) has approved funding for three of the thirteen proposed projects received during the most recent round of contributed proposals which closed on July 10th. The total amount awarded was just over $29,000. A brief description of each of these projects follows.

The R Documentation Task Force: The Next Generation R Documentation System

Andrew Redd received $10,000 to lead a new ISC working group, The R Documentation Task Force, which has a mission to design and build the next generation R documentation system. The task force will identify issues with documentation that currently exist, abstract the current Rd system into an R compatible structure, and extend this structure to include new considerations that were not concerns when the Rd system was first implemented. The goal of the project is to create a system that allows for documentation to exist as objects that can be manipulated inside R. This will make the process of creating R documentation much more flexible enabling new capabilities such as porting documentation from other languages or creating inline comments. The new capabilities will add rigor to the documentation process and enable the the system to operate more efficiently than any current methods allow. For more detail have a look at the R Documentation Task Force proposal (Full Text).

The task force team hopes to complete the new documentation system in time for the International R Users Conference, UseR! 2017, which begins July 4th 2017. If you are interested in participating in this task force, please contact Andrew Redd directly via email (andrew.redd@hsc.utah.edu). Outline your interest in the project, you experience with documentation any special skills you may have. The task force team is particularly interested in experience with documentation systems for languages other than R and C/C++.

Interactive data manipulation in mapview

The ISC awarded $9,100 to Tim Appelhans, Florian Detsch and Christoph Reudenbach the authors of the Interactive data manipulation in mapview project (Proposal) which aims to extend the capabilities of R for visualizing geospatial data by implementing a two-way data exchange mechanism between R and JavaScript. The central idea is to extend the capabilities of existing tools to enhance the user experience of interactively working with geospatial data by implementing mechanisms for two way data transfer. For example, although htmlwidgets has proven itself to be a powerful framework for enabling interactive, JavaScript based data visualizations, data flow from R to Javascript runs on a one-way street.  There is currently no way to pass manipulated data back into the user’s R environment. This project aims to first develop a general framework to provide a bridge between htmlwidgets and R to enable a workflow of R -> htmlwidgets -> R and then to use this framework to implement standard interactive spatial data manipulation tools for packages mapview and leaflet. The plan section of the project proposal provides considerable detail on the steps required to achieve the project’s goals.

If you would like to help and have strong R and JavaScript skills contact the authors directly via the email address provided in the links above.

R-Ladies Alignment and Global Expansion

The ISC awarded $10,000 to a team that includes members from both the London and San Francisco R-Ladies user groups (Gabriela de Queiroz, Chiin­Rui Tan, Alice Daish, Hannah Frick, Rachel Kirkham, Erin Ledell, Heather Turner, and Claudia Vitolo) to establish additional R-Ladies groups worldwide. The proposal (Full text) authors note that women are underrepresented in every role of the global R community; as leaders, package developers, conference speakers, conference participants, educators, and R users. They propose to address this issue through a series of practical actions that build on the success of the San Francisco and London R-Ladies groups in encouraging female participation. The team envisions the project unfolding in two phases. In the first phase, the team will identify the common elements contributing to the success of both existing R-Ladies groups, establish the “R-Ladies” brand and build a new centralized community infrastructure. The second phase will be devoted to managing the global expansion of the “R-Ladies” initiative through selective seeding of new groups around the world.

This is an ambitious project that will require a variety of technical skills (website design and development, Bookdown content development and graphic design, for example)  as well as expertise in marketing, public relations, social media communications and event organization. The R-Ladies are looking for help. If you are interested contributing your expertise or maybe starting a “R-Ladies” group in your area write to info@rladies.org.

Impact

Each of these projects has the potential to profoundly affect the R Community. R-Ladies will enlarge the community and strengthen the social fabric that binds it together. If successful, the R Documentation Task force will improve the environment for R package development and enrich the experience of every R user. The interactive data manipulation project has the potential to increase the synergy between R and JavaScript and set the direction for the development for interactive visualizations.

IBM Invests in R Programming Language for Data Science; Joins R Consortium

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Signals commitment to open source to help improve data analysis and address growing demands of big data

SAN FRANCISCO (Spark Summit) June 6, 2016 – The R Consortium, an open source foundation to support the R user community and a Linux Foundation project, today is announcing IBM is becoming a Platinum member of the project, which demonstrates a significant investment in the open source R programming language to simplify data analysis and statistical computing.

By 2020, an estimated 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet (see: IDC study, Worldwide Big Data Technology and Services Forecast, 2015-2019). However, less than one percent of this data is ever analyzed for meaningful applications. Data scientists, for example, spend up to 70 percent of their time integrating and organizing data before analyzing and applying it toward critical applications like weather modeling or cancer research.

The R language is a free and open source programming language used by statisticians, analysts and scientists to unlock the value from data. It provides an interactive environment for data analysis, modeling and visualization. The R Consortium aims to support the growing R user community and help ensure that the language evolves to meet new data challenges as they arise.

As a global leader in data analytics and management, IBM has invested in software and technology solutions designed to help enterprises gain powerful insights from data. The company has relied on R, among other data languages, to help create innovative solutions like IBM Watson, an open, cognitive computing technology platform that represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world like humans do: through senses, learning, and experience.  As a member of the R Consortium, IBM will collaborate with the R user community and support the project’s mission to identify, develop and implement infrastructure projects that drive standards and best practices for R code.

“We’re pleased to welcome IBM to the R Consortium,” said Hadley Wickham, Infrastructure Steering Committee Chair, R Consortium. “IBM is a longstanding contributor to open source software and has immense expertise in data analytics and computing. I very much look forward to their collaboration with the R community.”

As a Platinum member of R Consortium, IBM will gain a seat on both the Board of Directors and Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC), helping to provide support and technical guidance to the R community. Dinesh Nirmal, vice president of development for next generation analytics platform and big data solutions, will join the R Consortium Board of Directors.

“IBM is deeply invested in open source software for computing applications like data science. And as a long time member of The Linux Foundation, it’s a natural fit for us to extend our commitment to collaborative development by joining the R Consortium,” said Dinesh Nirmal, IBM. “The R Consortium is the leading open source community to advance the R language for data analysis and modeling, and we are very eager to collaborate with the R user community.”

IBM joins Platinum members Microsoft and RStudio and is also a Platinum member of The Linux Foundation.

Today’s news furthers IBM’s commitment to advance Spark as the analytics operating system for accelerating innovation and driving analytics across every business. IBM continues to partner with leading data science organizations including Galvanize, H2O, LightBend and RStudio to promote an integrated and unified data science ecosystem. Additionally, IBM is joining the R Consortium to help accelerate data science’s readiness for the enterprise.

 

About The R Consortium

The R Consortium is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization and Linux Foundation Collaborative Project dedicated to the support and growth of the R user community. The R Consortium provides support to the R Foundation and to the greater R Community for projects that assist R package developers, provide documentation and training, facilitate the growth of the R Community and promote the use of the R language. For more information about R Consortium, please visit: http://www.r-consortium.org.

 

Media Contact

Kyle Donovan
The Linux Foundation
pr@linuxfoundation.org

First Public Version of the r-hub Builder

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The r-hub builder is the first major project of the R consortium. It is an R package build and continuous integration service, open to all members of the R community.

Goals for R-Hub include:

  • simplify the R package development process: creating a package, building binaries and continuous integration, publishing, distributing and maintaining it;
  • encourage community contributions; and
  • pre-test CRAN package submissions to ease burden on CRAN maintainers.

What’s available

  • Linux builders for uploaded R source packages. You can watch the package check process in real time. Currently Debian and Fedora builders are available. Builds are performed in Docker containers, and new builders can be added easily.
  • Automatic detection of system requirements. We built a system requirements database that allows us to automatically install system software needed for R packages. Note that the database needs constant improvements, and if it fails for your R package, please let us know. See below.
  • Flexible package dependencies. You don’t need to have all your package dependencies on CRAN in order to use r-hub. We support devtools-styleRemotes fields in DESCRIPTION, so you can depend on GitHub, BitBucket, etc. packages. See more about this at https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/devtools/vignettes/dependencies.html

Go to https://builder.r-hub.io to try the r-hub builder!

What’s coming?

Mostly everything else that was promised in the proposal The two major features that are coming soon are

  • Windows builds, and
  • The r-hub CI. You’ll be able to trigger builds from your GitHub repositories.

You can help