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R for Predictive Modeling and Data Visualization in Turkey

By June 26, 2023Blog

Mustafa Cavus, organizer of the Eskisehir R User Group, in Turkey, discussed the diverse and thriving R community in Eskisehir. He shared the details of a 4-day event hosted by the group, which covered beginner-level talks and advanced topics for expert users. He also shared some useful techniques for hosting successful events. in Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

Please share your background and involvement with the RUGS group.

I am working as an Assistant Professor at Eskisehir Technical University, Department of Statistics. My teaching work focuses on Machine Learning, Data Visualization, and Statistical Hypothesis Testing using R. Additionally, I am actively researching Explainable AI at

I have a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics and have gained post-doctoral research experience at the Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science, Warsaw University of Technology. My journey with R started during my undergraduate years, and it has greatly advanced my academic career.

Inspired by the productivity and impact of local R groups and events worldwide, my colleague Ugur Dar and I decided to establish a local R user group in Eskisehir in 2019. Our aim was to foster a vibrant user community within our region.

Can you share what the R community is like in Eskisehir? 

The pioneer R users in Eskisehir primarily come from academia, focusing on teaching and research. This group consists of undergraduate students from various disciplines who seek to enhance their skills in data-related fields, as well as graduate students and researchers engaged in analytical research. In recent years, there has been growing interest from diverse industries, including finance, medicine, and more. The group’s areas of interest encompass data visualization, descriptive analysis, and predictive modeling.

Eskisehir Technical University Data Science Society in Eskisehir, Turkey

You had a Meetup Learn R, can you share more on the topic covered? Why this topic? 

We organized a four-day event on Learn R, which took place on November 13th and 26th, as well as December 17th and 19th. This event was a collaboration with the Eskisehir Technical University Data Science Society. Throughout the event, we delved into various aspects of R, starting from the basics and progressing toward designing user interfaces using R.

On the first day, we commenced with the session “Introduction to R Programming,” covering topics such as understanding the essence of R, effectively handling error messages, and exploring basic data types, data structures, operators, loops, and functions in R. We provided hands-on examples to reinforce learning.

Introduction to R Programming Tutorial by Mustafa Cavus

The subsequent session, “Data Manipulation with R,” focused on the practical applications of the {dplyr} package and its functions for manipulating data.

Once participants had gained a glimpse of R and acquired useful data manipulation skills, we proceeded to advanced topics such as “Data Visualization with {ggplot2}” and “Designing User Interfaces with {Shiny}.” These sessions were led by Ugur, an expert in these fields, who actively applies these techniques in the banking sector at Visbanking.

Data Visualization with {ggplot2} Tutorial by Ugur Dar

Our primary goal in selecting these topics was to enhance the skills of individuals who were new to R or had only a beginner-level understanding. Furthermore, we aimed to provide initial training to meet the increasing demand for human resources in our country, particularly in areas such as data visualization and user interface design.

Who is the target audience for attending this event? 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic obligated a shift to online events. Fortunately, organizing such events now allows us to reach a wider audience. Initially, we had planned for this event to be a face-to-face gathering primarily for undergraduate students in Eskisehir. However, in response to numerous requests, we decided to change it to an online format. This modification enables not only participants from Eskisehir but also participants from all across Turkey who are interested in learning R to have easy access to the event.

With the aim of attracting a diverse range of participants, we have carefully prepared comprehensive content that caters to both beginners and those seeking more advanced knowledge. Our curriculum covers fundamental concepts and progressively delves into advanced topics.

Any techniques you recommend using for planning for or during the event? (Github, Zoom, other) Can these techniques be used to make your group more inclusive to people unable to attend physical events in the future?   

Certainly! We now have access to many online platforms and tools for hosting events, and the options available continue to expand rapidly. It is crucial to consider the familiarity of the target audience with the chosen tools to ensure a positive experience.

For our event, we decided to use the widely-used Zoom platform, which is prevalent in Turkey. We also made the training materials available in a public repository on GitHub. Additionally, we uploaded the recordings on YouTube, allowing those who missed the session to catch up.

We think that comprehensive documentation of an event enhances its impact and longevity. The content we developed for this particular event is expected to serve as a valuable resource for individuals interested in learning R for years to come.

Lastly, in order to gauge the effectiveness of an event, we encourage participants to provide feedback using tools such as Google Forms. This valuable feedback will aid us in planning future events more efficiently.

Please share any additional details you would like included in the blog. 

Thanks. I would like to express my gratitude to Ugur for his invaluable support in our R initiatives. Additionally, I extend my appreciation to Gizem Altun, Seyma Gunonu, and Zeynep Afra Sezer for their exceptional organizational contributions.

Mustafa and Ugur in Gdansk, Poland

Our city and country are home to numerous enthusiastic R users, and the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences with them is an integral aspect of R users’ culture. Finally, I extend an invitation to all those who are interested to reach out to us and actively participate in our events. We firmly believe that knowledge becomes more useful when shared. 

Greetings from Eskisehir to the R community! 👋

How do I Join?

R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. We have given grants over the past four years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!