What’s new with R Consortium funded projects in Q3 2018

In an effort to provide greater transparency with respect to R Consortium activities, the ISC provides quarterly updates for all R Consortium funded projects. The following is our update for Q3 2018.


Most of the work on R-hub was maintenance, i.e. updating software, fixing failures, updating SSL certificates.

R-Hub in 2018 January-June, some numbers:

  • 18 platforms, including Windows, Linux, MacOS and Solaris builders
  • 9098 builds
  • 843 different packages
  • 450 users

Detailed work and issue tracking can be found here and here.

PSI application for collaboration to create online R package validation repository

The AIMS SIG is planning to create an online repository for R package validation which could be used when R is used for pharmaceutical industry regulatory analysis. Since the main hurdle for widespread use of R in late phase trials is ensuring adequate validation documentation, AIMS is designing a framework which will specify a set of requirements, including metadata and examples of tests, which together would form evidence of the quality of an R package. Initially we will use dplyr as an example, and will make this “evidence of validation” available to the wider community on GitHub.

Whether the evidence provided is sufficient will be the decision of the end user, but it can be a starting point for further testing or may be sufficient in itself depending on the user’s attitude to risk. After review by our peers, we will be calling on all R users to submit similar evidence of validation for other packages. By sharing this evidence, we hope to reduce the amount of re-work being done by multiple companies eager to use R, but fearful of doing so in a regulatory environment without documentation of validation.

The AIMS SIG presented at the 2018 PSI Conference. The title was “The Future is heRe” aimed at demonstrating ways in which R can be useful in the pharmaceutical industry and promoting our plans for the online repository for the documentation of R validation.

AIMS also presented and held an R-validation brainstorming workshop at the R/Pharma Conference in August 2018. Volunteers from this meeting and the wider community will form a sub-group who will work towards the creation of the R-validation online repository. For latest details on the project please look here. If you are interested in contributing to this project please contact: Lyn Taylor at taylorlyn@prahs.com.

Ongoing infrastructural development for R on Windows and MacOS

Follow the project here.

Quantities for R

The r-quantities project has been completed. The four milestones of the project were published in the following blog posts:

1. A first working prototype
2. Support for units and errors parsing
3. An analysis of data wrangling operations with quantities
4. Prospects on fitting linear models with quantities

And along the way, there have been multiple exciting improvements, both in the ‘units’ and ‘errors’ packages, to support all these features and make ‘quantities’ possible, which is ready for an imminent CRAN release. This project ends, but the r-quantities GitHub organization will continue to thrive and to provide the best tools for quantity calculus to the R community.

histoRicalg — Preserving and Transferring Algorithmic Knowledge

histoRicalg has generated some interest and activity in its first few months, with a working group established and some activities begun concerning older algortihms that R may or may not be using. Our gitlab repository now has a variety of materials, and some are codified into vignettes is here. Our mailing list has grown, and new members welcome join the mailing list. .

R User Group Support program

The 2018 R Consortium R User Group Support Program has wrapped up for the year on September 30th. This year we have made 3 Array level grants, 17 Matrix level grants and 96 Vector level grants to make a total of 116 RUGs funded. 78 groups elected to participate in the meetup.com program where the R Consortium pays their meeup.com dues. Additionally, we funded 14 small conferences. In total, the RUGs program awarded more than $50,000 in grants.

stars: Scalable, spatiotemporal tidy arrays for R

Follow the project here.

Forwards Workshops for Women and Girls

A package development workshop for women was held at eRum 2018. Thanks to the R Consortium funding, travel scholarships were provided for 8 women that attended. The course used material developed for the first workshop run in Auckland last year and these materials are now available on GitHub under a CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. A short (1.5-2 hours) version was also developed and run at Cardiff satRday, with accompanying RStudio cloud instance (details in the materials on the GitHub site). This opens the possibility of running the workshops with minimal set-up at R-Ladies or other user groups.

The next workshop planned is for high school girls in NYC, to be held on Saturday 27 October. Further details are on the Education page of the Forwards website.

Refactoring and updating the SWIG R module

Two significant PRs have been sent to swig maintainers, details of which are discussed in the report pages below. These PRs address:

  • Rewriting the enumeration wrapping framework in the R module, allowing arbitrarily complex definition of underlying integer values
  • Rewriting/refactoring of the accessor wrapping framework for the R module, which eliminates the use of logic driven by function names from this part of the module

The latter eliminates bugs in which some accessors were incorrectly defined due to errors in the string logic, and others were incorrectly ignored due to names matching the patterns expected of automatically generated bindings. Look here for details.

Developing Tools and Templates for Teaching Materials

We have set up a GitHub organization that includes a repository to gather feedback and ideas  and a website to provide updates about the project. We started a small R package to extract, manipulate and modify the content of yml headers.

Joint profiling of native and R code

No new updates since Q2. First thing to do will be to improve documentation and perhaps record a screencast, to lower the entry barrier.

Maintaining DBI

Kirill Müller presented DBI in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Zurich. Here are the slides. The DBI package now has a CII badge. Stay tuned for the upcoming blog posts, the first in early October. All posts will be available here.

R Documentation Task Force

The Beta versions will be released soon.

Sat R Days

satRdays (satrdays.org) continue to grow and flourish. In the next three months, we’re having our first conferences in the US (dc2018.satrdays.org) and South America (santiago2018.satrdays.org) as well as another conference in the European region (belgrade2018.satrdays.org.

We’re discussing more events in Africa and growing the number of events per region next year. We’re hoping for at least 20 satRdays to run around the world.

Folks can now register interest on our events calendar and read about running an event on our knowledgebase (knowledgebase.satrdays.org).

We’re looking forward to supporting people across the world in sharing their R knowledge via accessible and diverse events.

Conference Management System for R Consortium Supported Conferences

We have completed and supported the deployment of a satRdays conference template that is open source and forkable for other events. It allows the integration of common ticketing platforms and call for paper solutions. The template is here.

Our next steps are about building a similar solution that is UseR! branded and incorporates sciencesconf to make it easier for academic events to spin up quickly too.


Growth: R-Ladies growth is exceeding all the expectations. The goal for 2018 was to reach 65 chapters, and we are pleased to announce that, as per Oct 2018, we have already doubled that number: there are currently 131 chapters on meetup with ~31,500 R-Ladies members (signed up on meetup) and distributed in 41 countries and 131 cities in 6 continents. Additionally the R-Ladies remote, launched last quarter, is very active organising virtual events for all the R-Ladies far from any chapters.

Improving infrastructure: The majority of R-Ladies chapters have been migrated to our meetup pro account, few more are scheduled next quarter. This will help simplifying the reimbursement of chapter expenses.

R-Ladies is now a non-profit organization incorporated in California (USA) – application for tax exempt status is in progress.

An Earth data processing backend for testing and evaluating stars

Follow the project here.